1-Year Online Master’s Degree Programs: A Complete List for 2023

A master’s degree can be the catalyst for a career change or take you to the next level in your current job. Many master’s degrees can even be completed in as little as one year, making it possible to reach your goals in less time. Explore the best 1-year online master’s degrees.

A master’s degree can advance your career by enhancing your resume and deepening your skillset. However, taking a year or two off to attend a full-time program is a sacrifice few can make, so many people choose to complete their master’s degree online while working full time. With an online master’s degree program, you can advance your career from the comfort of your own home. In some cases, it is possible to complete an online master’s degree in one year or less, depending on the program, your time commitment, and what previous schooling or experience you bring to the table.

Since not all online master’s programs are created equal, this guide helps you find a top-quality program that suits your lifestyle. Not only does it profile top-ranked programs in the U.S., but it also discusses the types of online 1-year master’s degree programs available as well as what factors you should consider before applying. Advice from a one-year master’s program graduate rounds out the discussion.

1-Year Online Master’s Degree Programs

A one-year online master’s degree is one of the fastest ways to further your education and advance your career. When looking for a program, make sure it has the curriculum, resources, and opportunities to advance your career goals. If you want to work full-time while completing your program, make sure the one you select is flexible and allows you to take classes outside of working hours.

Finding a flexible program to meet your educational needs takes patience but it’s worth the effort. The following list of accredited one-year online master’s degree programs should provide you with a solid starting point in your search. Schools are listed alphabetically, so be sure to click the tabs to see them all and compare options.

College Programs
Alvernia University
American Intercontinental University
American University
Anderson University
Arizona State University
Arkansas State University
Auburn University
Babson College
Baker College
Ball State University
Benedictine University
Boise State University
Boston University
California Baptist University
California State University
Campbell University
Capella University
Central Michigan University
Cleveland State University
Cleveland University
Colorado State University
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado Technical University
Columbia College
Concordia Nebraska
Concordia University Wisconsin
Concordia University-Portland
Cornell University
Cumberland University
East Carolina University
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern University
Eastern Washington University
Edgewood College
Elmhurst College
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Florida State University
Fontbonne University
Franklin Pierce University
Franklin University
Frostburg State University
Full Sail University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Howard University
Hult International Business School
Illinois Institute of Technology
Indiana Wesleyan University
Kansas State University
Lamar University
Liberty University
Limestone College
Lincoln Christian University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University-Shreveport
LSU Online
Lynn University
Maryville University
Mercy University
National University
New Jersey Institute of Technology
North American University
North Carolina State University
Northeastern University
Oklahoma Christian University
Pennsylvania State University
Plymouth State University
Purdue University Global
Regent University
Regis University
Rivier University
Rutgers University
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Saint Leo University
Schiller International University
Seton Hall University
South University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Southern New Hampshire University
St. Thomas University
State University of New York Oswego
Stetson University
Syracuse University
Tennessee Technological University
Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M University
Texas Tech University
The University of Arizona
Touro University Worldwide
Trine University
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas
University of California Irvine
University of Central Missouri
University of Cincinnati
University of Connecticut
University of Florida
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Michigan-Dearborn
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
University of Northern Colorado
University of Scranton
University of South Carolina
University of South Florida
University of Southern California
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee Knoxville
University of Texas
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas-Permian Basin
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
University of Vermont
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Upper Iowa University
Walden University
Western Governors University
Wheeling University
Widener University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Wright State University

Why Consider a 1-Year Master’s Online?

There are a variety of advantages to one-year online master’s programs, from flexibility and increased earning potential, to saving time and money. For many, a one-year program that is also online provides the quickest and easiest way to career advancement. When compared to longer or in-person programs, though, there are some disadvantages to an accelerated program, such as increased intensity and tighter timelines. Considering the pros and cons of a one-year online master’s program can help you know if it’s the right approach for you or if a two-year program or in-person program better suits your needs.

Pros of a 1-Year Online Master’s Program:

  • Take less time to complete

    With other programs taking two to three years, the program completion time is substantially less. You’d also save commuting time and be able to devote more time to studying and other commitments.

  • Improve your chances for promotion

    Getting a master’s degree is a fantastic way to accelerate your career. It shows commitment to your profession and provides additional resources and knowledge you might not be able to get otherwise.

  • Increase your earning potential

    Individuals 25-34 years old with master’s degrees earn $10,000 more a year on average than those with only bachelor’s degrees. Employers are willing to pay more for your increased knowledge and skills.

  • Improve your opportunity for a new career

    A one-year master’s degree provides a quicker way to start a new career. If you currently work on the editorial staff of a publishing company but want to join the supply chain operations team, for example, an MBA can help you pivot your career.

  • Gain new knowledge related to your current profession

    Combining a full-time career with continued education provides new knowledge that allows you to better thrive in your current role. Many employers reward employees who decide to upskill through higher education.

  • Learn new skills to stand out above co-workers or for personal interest

    Whether you’re looking to stand out from the competition or want to advance your education for personal development, a one-year program provides a streamlined way to learn the new skills you desire.

  • Save money

    Condensed programs sometimes have a lower price tag, though not always, than traditional master’s programs. Other areas of money savings include not having travel costs and being able to advance and earn a higher salary an entire year sooner.

Cons of a 1-Year Online Master’s Program:

  • Program intensity may not align with your lifestyle or commitments

    While you will get your degree faster, the program will be more intense than a longer program. This could significantly strain your lifestyle and leave less time for other interests and commitments.

  • Balancing work and school may be tough

    Juggling work and school assignments may also be difficult, especially since the program is accelerated. A one-year program may require a lot of late nights after an already long day of work.

  • Tighter timelines and deadlines for assignments

    Most one-year programs have extremely tight timelines. This makes deadlines for assignments harder to meet as you try to comprehend the more advanced information that makes up any quality master’s program.

  • May offer fewer networking opportunities

    Longer programs and especially in-person ones have more built-in networking opportunities. Because one-year programs are so intense and because the coursework is all online, connecting with others in your program becomes more difficult.

  • May not provide as in-depth knowledge of subjects

    Professors may have to cut some of their usual curricula to suit a shorter online format. This means the information you receive might not be as in-depth as in longer or in-person programs.

11 Popular 1-Year Online Master’s Degrees

Some master’s degrees are easier and more popular to get online than others. Generally, programs that don’t require hands-on experience are easier to earn online. In addition, career fields like accounting and administration require a master’s to advance professionally, so these fields often have popular online programs to suit the increased demand.

Below are the top disciplines with one-year online master’s programs. We’ve also included information on some of the job and advancement opportunities available along with information on potential income.

  • Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

    An MBA is one of the most popular online master’s programs as well as one of the most flexible, and most business fields have a corresponding MBA. Depending on the type of MBA, career choices include:

    • Marketing
    • Management
    • International business
    • Supply chain management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Product development

    While an MBA is not a requirement to advance a career in business, it can substantially enhance your earning potential and career growth. By acquiring leadership, critical thinking, and strategic decision-making skills, you become eligible for higher-level management positions. An MBA also allows access to various industries and roles, offering numerous opportunities for professional advancement and increased income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual wage of $102,450 for all management jobs in 2021. Getting an online MBA is easier than ever before with many schools converting their high-quality on-campus programs to virtual platforms.

  • Online Master’s in Accounting

    A master’s in accounting is typically required to advance as in the accounting field. Some programs are also tailored to meet the standards to become a certified financial planner (CFP), wealth advisor, or other specialized jobs within the disciplines of finance and accounting. With this master’s, you can become a:

    • Certified accountant
    • Private wealth advisor
    • Hedge fund manager
    • Public accountant

    While many accounting-related jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, some employers prefer hiring individuals with master’s degrees that concentrate on accounting. With online learning and accelerated programs, getting an online master’s degree in accounting is now easier than ever before.

  • Online Master’s in Education

    A master’s degree is becoming a more common requirement for career advancement in education. Some states even have funds set aside for teachers to continue their education and stay up to date on the most effective teaching practices. While being a teacher is the most obvious career choice for those with a master’s in education, other options include:

    • Education administration
    • Leadership positions in school settings
    • Curriculum development
    • Educational nonprofit management

    The National Council on Teacher Quality reports that school districts increase teachers’ pay based on their earning of advanced degrees. Teachers also strive to earn a master’s in education degrees because advanced degrees open doors to administrative and ancillary positions in education.

  • Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

    For those passionate about preventing crime and improving their communities, an online master’s degree in criminal justice gives them the knowledge they need for advancement. Individuals with this degree often work for local and state governmental bodies as private investigators, corrections officers, and detectives. At the federal level, positions include those with organizations like the State Department or FBI dealing with national and international crime. Individuals with a master of arts in criminal justice earn an average base salary of $61,000 a year, according to Payscale, with some positions passing $100,000.

  • Online Master’s in Health Sciences

    The health sciences are one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S., and earning an online master’s in health science master’s is a great way to advance your career in the medical field. Common career paths include:

    • Occupational health specialist
    • Healthcare administrator
    • Athletic trainer
    • Medical researcher

    With a faster than average growth rate for all occupations, according to the BLS, healthcare occupations offer a slew of specialty choices. Individuals with a master’s degree in health sciences often earn around $80,000 or more per year in starting pay.

  • Online Master’s in Management

    Like an MBA, a master’s in management opens more opportunities for leadership roles. Unlike an MBA, however, management opportunities exist in virtually every field, including:

    • Engineering
    • Manufacturing
    • Software development
    • Communications
    • All business fields

    This is a versatile degree beneficial to anyone wanting a leadership role, whether that includes managing a team or working as a project manager across teams. In addition to commanding a higher salary, individuals with a master’s in management also have more opportunities for growth into higher-level positions. Individuals with this degree, according to Glassdoor, make an average of $68,000 per year, but salaries can exceed $400,000.

  • Online Master’s in Communication

    While a master’s is not a common requirement to further a career in communications, it is helpful for those looking for a promotion or to break into especially competitive areas of the field. Possible jobs for individuals with this degree include those as a(n):

    • Editor for a media company
    • Public relations manager
    • Social media manager
    • Internal communications specialist

    An online master’s degree in communication is a good choice for people seeking to enhance their understanding of messaging strategies and advocacy in professional settings. This advanced degree equips students with strategic communication, public relations, digital media, and crisis management skills, preparing them for diverse roles across various industries. Additionally, the acquired expertise enables them to effectively convey ideas, influence decisions, and drive organizational success, making this degree a valuable asset in today’s competitive job market.

  • Online Master’s in Public Health

    This master’s degree is a great option for anyone looking to work for nonprofit, governmental, or private organizations focused on improving public health standards. Common career paths include:

    • Healthcare administration
    • Epidemiology
    • Nutritional sciences
    • Health information

    Master’s degrees in public health are common and often preferred for many public health jobs. Some, like epidemiology, require it to even enter the profession. According to Indeed, this degree also opens doors for work in other fields such as education, sanitation, nutrition, and climate change.

  • Online Master’s in Psychology

    A master’s in psychology comes in many different specialties, most commonly clinical, experimental, and applied psychology. A master’s in psychology is often required to become a licensed mental health practitioner, which often comes with educational and clinical hour requirements specific to the state in which you will practice. This means finding a program that meets state requirements is essential. While a doctoral degree is needed to practice as a psychologist, individuals with an online master’s degree in psychology can work as psychologist assistants in a variety of settings, including marriage and family therapy and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling. According to the BLS, counselors with a master’s in psychology can make close to $80,000 a year, while those working as industrial-organizational psychologists could potentially make over $100,000 a year.

  • Online Master’s in Computer Science

    Software development and computer science are two of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S., with rapidly growing salaries to match. Depending on where you work, salaries for those with a master’s in computer science range from $80,000 to $500,000 a year and have an average starting salary of $99,000 annually. Common careers with this master’s degree include:

    • Software engineer
    • Cybersecurity specialist
    • Front-end developer
    • Software developer

    While you can work in computer science without a master’s degree, you’ll need one to advance into specialty and management areas as well as to make yourself stand out in this highly competitive and ever-changing field.

  • Online Master’s in Social Work

    An online master’s degree in social work is a requirement to enter the social work field and can be helpful to other career paths as well. This versatile degree offers a range of professional possibilities for those dedicated to positively impacting their community. By obtaining a master’s degree in social work, you’ll be well-equipped to support vulnerable populations and drive meaningful change in various settings. Examples include:

    • Caseworker
    • Mental health specialist
    • Counselor
    • Nonprofit director

    Salaries vary greatly, though the median annual pay is $50,390.

What to Look For in a 1-year Online Master’s Degree Program

Knowing the options available in one-year online master’s degree programs is a great starting point, but it’s also important to determine which programs are right for you. Finding a program that suits your lifestyle and career goals is a multifaceted process with many considerations. Factors to consider when choosing a program include accreditation, cost, curriculum, resources, learning style, and graduation rate. These categories will not only guide your search for the perfect program, but they can also help you compare one program to another.

1. Accreditation

Make sure the master’s program you choose is accredited. Depending on your career path, also make sure the program meets your state’s requirements. For example, accountants and mental health practitioners often need special accreditation to practice in their state. For fields like these, a master’s program meeting your state’s and any professional governing body’s licensure requirements is essential in choosing a program that will help you reach your career goals.

2. Costs, Scholarship Opportunities, and Financial Aid

While cost is a significant consideration for most students, don’t look only at the price of the program. Also consider scholarship opportunities and financial aid since these can make a school with higher tuition cost the same and sometimes less than one with lower tuition. Programs usually provide financial information on their websites, but you can also reach out to program directors to learn more. Additionally, consider scholarship opportunities outside of your institution of choice to offset the cost of your master’s program.

3. Curriculum

No two master’s programs are alike, so research what the curriculum is like for a specific program of interest to determine if it will help you meet your career goals. This is especially true for broad degrees like a master’s in health sciences, for example, since some health science programs are tailored toward medical research roles while others prepare students for careers in healthcare administration. Make sure to choose a program tailored to your ideal career path.

4. Student Resources

Beyond the curriculum, you’ll also want to explore the resources available to you as a student. As an online learner, pay particular attention to the online resources. If there’s a writing center at your institution but it only provides in-person services, it won’t help you improve your accounting term paper if you learn remotely and can’t go to campus. Also consider whether a program offers networking opportunities since success in many fields also depends on making professional connections.

5. Learning Formats

When considering the learning format, look at a program’s experience with online instruction and your personal preferences. Programs experienced in online education often have better learning formats because they have spent years perfecting their online curricula. Also make sure a program suits your specific learning preferences. For example, if you enjoy a hands-on program with lots of activities or prefer a lecture-heavy program with exams, there’s likely a master’s program available in that format.

6. Graduation Rate

The goal of a master’s program isn’t just to learn but to graduate, so investigate the graduation rate for different programs you’re considering. The graduation rate of a master’s degree in social work program reflects the program’s effectiveness and student satisfaction. A high graduation rate shows that students are completing the program and acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the rigorous aspects of the job. It also suggests the program provides adequate support and resources, leading to a positive learning experience.

Low graduation rates, on the other hand, may signify a challenging curriculum, insufficient support, or a mismatch between student expectations and program offerings. Choosing programs with high graduation rates increases the likelihood of receiving a quality education and achieving personal and professional goals.

Tips and Advice from a 1-Year Master’s Program Graduate

Kentucky Morrow

When deciding on a one-year master’s degree program, talking with past students to get their perspectives can be invaluable. That’s why we sat down with Kentucky Morrow to discover insider tips to help you ensure success in your online master’s program. After majoring in economics at Emory University, Kentucky Morrow decided to get a one-year online master’s in healthcare management from John Hopkins University. Here’s what he had to say about his master’s degree and how it gave him the skills necessary to serve as a VP of Finance and later as a co-founder of Ralli Alcohol Health.

What did you consider when choosing your specific program?

I joined the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Management program to both get a deep understanding of healthcare, where I previously had limited experience, and because of the brand name. Whenever people ask where I went to school, the Hopkins name always stands out.

Looking back after completing your degree, what advice would you give to yourself when applying to programs?

I would focus more on opportunities outside the classroom. Initially, I really focused on academics, which is important, but the clubs, internships, and networking opportunities are what have stuck with me the most.

What was the main reason you wanted to complete a master’s program?

The program was really helpful for me in transitioning my career trajectory. It let me position myself from academia to industry while also helping me get hands-on experience to discuss in interviews.

After getting your master’s degree, how did your career trajectory change?

My courses and the opportunities in my program were instrumental in helping me go from an entry-level investment banker to vice president in four years and subsequently launching a startup.

What are the most important skills you developed in your master’s program?

The program at Hopkins was great because it was interdisciplinary. I was able to use my skills in financial economics from undergraduate studies to understand the financial aspects of investment banking, but the industry experience of a healthcare management background let me really understand the strategic and operational challenges faced by the CEOs of the healthcare companies we were advising. That similarly translated to launching Ralli where understanding the clinical and regulatory challenges of an alcohol health company was just as important as building a brand.