Relatively recent advancements in distance education technology have enabled colleges and universities around the country to offer affordable online master’s degree programs in a wide variety of subjects. Such programs allow professionals in diverse fields to advance their subject knowledge and technical expertise without ever leaving the comfort of their homes and to earn their degrees at a pace that fits their schedules and lifestyles. In this ranking, we explore the 45 top affordable online master’s programs.
Types of degree programs covered in this ranking include the following:
- Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Engineering (MAS)
- Master of Education in Elementary Education (MEd)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Science in Community Development (MS)
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MS)
- Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MA)
- Master of Science in Engineering Management (MS)
- Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MS)
- Master of Arts in Sport Management (MA)
- Master of Arts in Human Resource Management (MA)
- Master of Business Administration in Executive Leadership (MBA)
- Master of Science in Management:Organizational Managemet (MS)
- Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MA)
- Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership (MA)
- Master of Education in Library Media (MEd)
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Per Credit Hour Points:
- Under $250—4 points
- Under $300—3 points
- Under $350—2 points
- Under $400—1 point
Number of Online Master’s Programs
- 5 or more—1 point
- 10 or more—2 points
- 15 or more—3 points
- 20 or more—4 points
- 25 or more—5 points
1 point per feature that “wowed” us
Ranking the Top Affordable Master’s Programs Online
To develop this ranking, our editors considered only those affordable master’s degree programs with tuition costs of less than $400 per credit hour, prior to 2020 updates. In applying the rating and ranking methodology above, we also used tuition to break the tie, awarding the more affordable school the higher ranking.
#45 –Delta State University
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 9
Delta State University offers a dozen graduate programs via distance education through its Division of Graduate and Continuing Studies, most of them affordable online master’s degree programs. Specific program offerings include the Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Information Technologies, Master of Commercial Aviation, MS in Community Development, MS in Social Justice and Criminology, and MEd in Elementary Education. EdS programs are also available in Administration and Supervision and Elementary Education. Delta State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).
In-State Tuition: $442
#44 –Queens University of Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 5
Queens University of Charlotte offers affordable online master’s programs that promote real-time engagement and collaboration through video conferencing, shared blogging, and 24/7 access to content and classes. Specific program offerings include an MBA, MS in Nursing, Master of Health Administration, MA Communication, and an MA in Educational Leadership. Queens University of Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges and was named one of the top 25 regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.
In-State Tuition: $433-$850
#43 –Indiana Tech
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 10
Indiana Institute of Technology offers robust, affordable online master’s degree programs through its College of Professional Studies. One such offering is the online MBA program with concentrations in Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resources, Management, and Marketing. The university is also home to several top affordable online MS programs such as the MS in Engineering Management, Management, Organizational Leadership, and Psychology. Indiana Institute of Technology’s online programs emphasize the real-world application of skills.
In-State Tuition: $515-557
#42 –Concordia University- St. Paul
St. Paul, Minnesota
A top provider of affordable online master’s programs, Concordia University- St. Paul is a Christian liberal arts university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Areas of study include business, criminal justice, exercise science, healthcare management, nursing, technology, and more. Students can pursue their master’s online by enrolling in programs like the MA in Human Resource Management, MS in Exercise Science, MS in Information Technology Management, MA in Criminal Justice, and MA in Sport Management. Concordia St. Paul’s online master’s programs feature career-focused curricula.
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 12
In-State Tuition: $395-625
#41 –Baker University
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 9
Baker University offers its affordable online master’s programs through its School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Most offerings fall within the category of business or education. Specific offerings include an MA in Organizational Leadership, MBA in Executive Leadership, MS in Sports Management, MA in Education, and MBA in Human Resources, for instance. The school also offers entirely online graduate business certificates such as Leadership and Organizational Change, Finance, Healthcare Administration, and Human Resources. Baker’s online master’s students receive support services such as online tutoring, library access, and career services.
In-State Tuition: $375
#40 –University of Southern Indiana
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 6
The University of Southern Indiana’s affordable online master’s programs are MBA options in Accounting, Data Analytics, Engineering Management, Human Resources, and Healthcare. These programs emphasize interactivity and experiential learning and are offered through the Romain College of Business. They are also asynchronous and accelerated, meaning students can complete coursework at their own pace and complete their online master’s programs in less than a year.
In-State Tuition: $269.52-$297
#39 –William Carey University
Number of Online Master’s Degree Programs: 8
William Carey University offers a respectable number of affordable online master’s degree programs as well as some hybrid offerings for those looking for a blended format. These options are available from the university’s School of Education, School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Music and Ministry Studies. Standout programs include the MEd in Mild and Moderate Disabilities (K-12), MS in Criminal Justice, MS in Nursing, and Master of Music Education. An online EdD in Educational Leadership is also available.
In-State Tuition: $400-440