2020 Best Online Colleges for Master’s Programs

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Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $170.00, and found here“>$2,550
  • Median Salary:
    $122,500
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>SACS COC

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The Georgia Institute of Technology is a technology-focused public research university with its main campus in Atlanta. Georgia Tech’s School of Professional Education has been providing online college courses for adult students around the world for 40 years. Currently, it offers 19 fully online Master of Science degrees and three hybrid professional master’s degrees. The Georgia Tech College of Computing has collaborated with Udacity and AT&T to offer the first online Master of Science in Computer Science from an accredited university that students can earn exclusively through the massive online format.

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Online Master’s Degrees (19)

The George Washington University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $980.00, and found here“>$17,640
  • Median Salary:
    $120,800
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Located in Washington, D.C., George Washington University prioritizes well-roundedness for its students both on-campus and around the world. The university is among the leading producers of Fulbright scholars as well as Peace Corps volunteers. Seventy online master’s degree programs are available across a range of disciplines, and the course materials are administered primarily via the Blackboard learning platform. GWU’s online college programs are generally taught by the same professors and use the same curriculum and assessments that are used on campus.

Online Master’s Degrees (70)

Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,575.00, and found here“>$23,625
  • Median Salary:
    $121,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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One of 21 institutions that comprise the Association of Independent Technological Universities, the Illinois Institute of Technology is a private research university focused primarily on technology. Although the online availability of master’s programs varies, distance learning students can generally access a wide variety of programs and courses from almost every college, center, and institute at the university. Both on-campus and distance students learn from the same faculty using the same curriculum.

Online Master’s Degrees (56)

Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,200.00, and found here“>$18,000
  • Median Salary:
    $118,600
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Missouri University of Science and Technology is a public research university, offering 73 online master’s programs, including an MBA program, an MS in Computer Science, and an MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Missouri S&T uses video streaming, WebEx collaborative software, audio conferencing, Canvas, and other tools to deliver lessons and coursework to online students while prioritizing student-to-faculty interaction. Most classes do not require live participation. However, live attendance may be required by individual instructors. All distance courses are recorded and archived for students to watch on their own schedule.

Online Master’s Degrees (73)

Texas A&M University-College Station
  • Annual Tuition:
    here.”>$11,636
  • Median Salary:
    $117,100
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>SACS COC

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Located centrally in the middle of the Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle, Texas A&M University’s main campus at College Station is home to 18 colleges specializing in various disciplines, 11 of which offer online master’s degree programs. The university offers a total of 72 online master’s programs in fields such as education, engineering, public administration, public health, and nursing. Distance programs are defined as programs in which a student may complete more than one-half of the semester credit hours required for the program through a combination of distance education courses. In-person requirements differ based on the program.

Online Master’s Degrees (72)

Golden Gate University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here.”>$14,850
  • Median Salary:
    $117,200
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>WASC WSCUC

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Golden Gate University is California’s fourth oldest private university, founded in 1901. In addition to evening and weekend classes, most courses and degrees are offered entirely online. Using GGU’s online learning platform, students access course materials, view videos or other multimedia content, and participate in course activities and projects. Students may also take a combination of in-person and online courses to fulfill program requirements. GGU’s most popular online master’s programs include business administration, accounting, finance, taxation, and business analytics.

Online Master’s Degrees (56)

University of Colorado Boulder
  • Annual Tuition:
    here and the average number of years to complete for a full-time student, which is assumed to be 2.0 for a typical program.”>$10,000
  • Median Salary:
    $115,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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The University of Colorado Boulder was established in 1876. Online college programs at CU Boulder make it possible to participate live in the classroom from anywhere. UC Boulder offers 19 online master’s programs in fields such as engineering, journalism, computer science, business analytics, organizational leadership, and supply chain management. Online students can watch real-time lectures and personally interact with professors through a suite of online delivery options, including the Coursera platform. Distance students can also customize their programs to fit their schedules.

Online Master’s Degrees (19)

Johns Hopkins University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here.”>$55,530
  • Median Salary:
    $121,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University was established as America’s first research university in 1876. Today, more than 200 master’s programs are available fully online at the institution. These programs include an MA in Communication, an MS in Finance, an MBA, and an MS in Health Care Management. Course materials are administered via Coursera, with which the university maintains a partnership. Of the university’s nine schools, seven offer online master’s degree programs, the exceptions being the Peabody Institute and the School of Advanced International Studies.

Online Master’s Degrees (212)

University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,465.00, and found here“>$21,975
  • Median Salary:
    $116,500
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>NECHE

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The University of Massachusetts Lowell began as the Lowell Normal School, a teaching college founded in 1894, and the Lowell Textile School, founded in 1895 to train textile industry professionals. The schools expanded and eventually merged in 1975, becoming part of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) system in 1991. The University of Massachusetts offers 30 online master’s programs, some of which — such as the UMass Lowell online MBA — are offered via UMass Lowell exclusively. Course materials, assignments, and discussions are accessible via the Blackboard learning platform.

Online Master’s Degrees (30)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $900.00, and found here“>$13,500
  • Median Salary:
    $114,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>SACS COC

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Virginia Polytechnic, known as Virginia Tech, was founded in 1872. Since 2015, it has been a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which standardizes distance learning requirements across multiple institutions in many states to ensure the credibility and utility of a degree earned online. Twenty online master’s programs are available at Virginia Tech in a variety of disciplines from political science to ocean engineering. Course materials are primarily administered electronically, and depending on the course, supporting instructional content may include web-based tutorials, textbooks, CDs, and other materials.

Online Master’s Degrees (20)

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University of Virginia
  • Annual Tuition:
    here”>$8,115
  • Median Salary:
    $113,000
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>SACS COC

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Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia recently celebrated its 200th birthday. Today, UVA offers a selection of online learning opportunities for students seeking to earn certain specialized master’s degrees, including the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and six different master’s programs in engineering, offered via the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science. Many courses are live-streamed, and online college students are also encouraged to attend them in real-time, alongside their peers in the classroom. Both synchronous and asynchronous course material is delivered via the school’s UVACollab platform, designed to be user-friendly for students of all levels of technological aptitude.

Online Master’s Degrees (20)

Georgetown University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,392.00, and found here“>$23,664
  • Median Salary:
    $113,100
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Established in 1789, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Online master’s degree programs are offered via Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, where the same curriculum followed by on-campus students is also delivered through a flexible, online format. Many of the online master’s programs are offered as a Master of Professional Studies, including the popular real estate program. Each online master’s program allows students to study on a schedule that works best for them. And although there are no required on-campus residencies, all online college students are always welcome on campus anytime.

Online Master’s Degrees (22)

University of Bridgeport
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $680.00, and found here“>$10,200
  • Median Salary:
    $109,200
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>NECHE

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In 1927, the University of Bridgeport was founded as the Junior College of Connecticut by a mathematics teacher and two of his close friends. Thanks to an influx of veterans following World War II, the small school grew into a university and established at its present-day location. Today, nine online master’s programs are available, with coursework delivered via the online learning management system Canvas. Each class involves weekly assignments and requires regular participation. Students are expected to log into their online class portal three to five times per week to read course material, get assignments, and interact with other students.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Annual Tuition:
    here.”>$10,472
  • Median Salary:
    $109,000
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Focused on sustaining low tuition and small class sizes, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs has an online learning program geared primarily toward in-state students who need to complete most or all of their coursework online. Students seeking to earn a master’s degree online at UCCS may choose from 23 master’s degree programs, including a Master of Criminal Justice, a Master of Public Administration, and an MSN. Admission to most master’s programs at UCCS requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, along with three letters of recommendation.

Online Master’s Degrees (23)

Oregon State University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $560.00, and found here“>$12,880
  • Median Salary:
    $109,300
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>NWCCU

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Founded in 1868, Oregon State University has two campuses in Oregon and places a strong emphasis on scientific innovation, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. Nearly 50 master’s programs are available either mostly or completely online, including five different MBA programs with varying specializations. Students may also pursue master’s degrees in some uniquely specialized disciplines, such as geographic information science, forests and climate change, and even a Master of Natural Resources (MNR) program. OSU’s eLearning platform incorporates multimedia lessons, videos, and interactive quizzes.

Online Master’s Degrees (46)

The University of Texas at Austin
  • Annual Tuition:
    here.”>$16,811
  • Median Salary:
    $109,000
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>SACS COC

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The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883. As of the fall of 2019, UT Austin offers a 10-course online Master of Computer Science program that shares both its curriculum and faculty with the on-campus program. Those interested in pursuing an online master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering can choose from nine different concentrations, including biomedical engineering, integrated circuits and systems, and software engineering. UT Austin also offers an online Master of Education – Sports Management, Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, and MSE in Engineering Management.

Online Master’s Degrees (13)

Elmhurst College
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $490.00, and found here“>$8,330
  • Median Salary:
    $107,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Elmhurst College was founded in 1871 by the German Evangelical Synod of the Northwest. Online master’s programs at Elmhurst include Master of Science programs in Data Science and Geographic Information Systems, as well as full-time and part-time MBA programs. The full-time MBA program is an accelerated curriculum that can be completed 100-percent online within just one year of study. Elmhurst also offers an online master’s program in nursing practice and a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership.

Online Master’s Degrees (16)

University of Maryland Global Campus
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $659.00, and found here“>$11,862
  • Median Salary:
    $107,100
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Founded in 1947 to serve working adults, especially military service members, the University of Maryland Global Campus has a strong focus on online education. UMGC’s virtual classroom is called the Learning Experience Online (LEO), and students can use LEO in a desktop or mobile browser to access coursework and exchange text and audio messages with professors. Master’s candidates can choose from 42 online master’s programs, most of which are in STEM and business disciplines. Special tuition assistance is available for military personnel, veterans, and immediate family members of military service members.

Online Master’s Degrees (42)

Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,129.00, and found here“>$16,935
  • Median Salary:
    $107,100
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology is a private university based in Rochester, New York. All online master’s programs are taught by the same faculty who teach at the main campus. Coursework is delivered through a proprietary “virtual campus” platform that includes custom RSS feeds, articles and videos, academic resources, a connection to the concierge, and an online café. RIT offers 18 online master’s programs requiring between 30 and 39 credits. A challenging 47-credit online executive MBA program is also available, covering the same curriculum as the campus EMBA and including three face-to-face events — a three-day Team Building Residency, a three- to four-day Business Simulation residency, and a week-long International Trip.

Online Master’s Degrees (19)

University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $482.00, and found here“>$7,712
  • Median Salary:
    $105,800
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system and boasts one of the largest public university libraries in the world. The university offers more than 66 online master’s programs spanning a range of disciplines, from crop science to strategic brand communication. Online students use the school’s Learning Management System (LMS) to access their schedules, assignments, course syllabi, discussion forums, and grades. Links to any other technologies used by the course, such as wikis, blogs, and Collaborate virtual offices, are also found there. In addition, the university’s iMBA degree is the first MBA designed as a stackable degree and delivered in a flexible online format, thanks to a partnership with Coursera.

Online Master’s Degrees (66)

Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $874.00, and found here“>$13,110
  • Median Salary:
    $106,500
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>WASC WSCUC

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Established in 1851 and located in Silicon Valley, Notre Dame de Namur University is the third-oldest college in California. NDNU is a Catholic, not-for-profit, co-ed university welcoming students of all faiths and backgrounds. Eight online master’s programs are available, including an online MBA with three possible focus areas (marketing, finance, and human resource management). Online students use a web-based learning system to log on to each virtual class and complete assignments and exams just as they would in a traditional college course. Through discussion forums, they also interact frequently with other students and professors. Coursework can be accessed at any time, but assignments must be completed by the due dates set up by each professor.

Villanova University Online Graduate Programs
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,525.00, and found here“>$22,875
  • Median Salary:
    $107,600
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>MSCHE

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Villanova University is a co-educational Roman Catholic institution founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Thirty-one fully online master’s degree programs are currently available at Villanova. There are also blended learning opportunities for students who need to complete some of their coursework off-campus. Working with many of the same professors who teach on campus, online students engage in live, instructor-led discussions and coursework and view live-streamed lectures. They can also access recorded lessons for offline study. Online college students earn the same degree as Villanova’s campus-based students.

Online Master’s Degrees (31)

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $1,465.00, and found here“>$14,650
  • Median Salary:
    $106,300
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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The University of Minnesota maintains a digital campus to make fully online master’s degrees accessible for working students and distance learners. Online programs are equivalent to on-campus degrees and certificates, and they generally involve the same instructors, program requirements, and curriculums. Many programs are offered either fully online, while others are offered primarily online and require a short residency. UMN is also home to the UNITE Distributed Learning program, which makes it possible for online students to complete courses offered at the College of Science and Engineering on the Twin Cities East Bank campus. The UNITE program incorporates live streaming video, archived video streams, and downloadable video and audio podcasts.

Online Master’s Degrees (19)

Iowa State University
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $543.00, and found here“>$8,145
  • Median Salary:
    $105,400
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Online learning is possible at Iowa State via The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA), a partnership of 19 public universities. Great Plains IDEA students are admitted to one “home university,” which in this case would be Iowa State. Students enroll and pay tuition at the home university. However, courses are taught fully online by faculty from each of the partner universities. Each university uses its own learning management system (LMS) to deliver online course content. Online master’s programs offered at Iowa State through the IDEA program span a range of disciplines, from agronomy to aerospace engineering. Iowa State also provides optional Supplemental Instruction (SI), an internationally recognized program of academic support providing free, regularly scheduled study sessions for traditionally difficult courses. 

Online Master’s Degrees (30)

University of St. Thomas
  • Annual Tuition:
    here, and the cost per credit, which is $660.00, and found here“>$9,900
  • Median Salary:
    $105,200
  • School Type:
    Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Credits will transfer more reliably from regionally accredited schools than any others. Accreditation agencies as reported by the Department of Education. “>HLC

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Located in St. Thomas, Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas is the largest private university in Minnesota. St. Thomas draws from the Catholic intellectual tradition while welcoming students of all faiths. Fully online master’s programs are available in several disciplines, including business administration (MBA), health care, law, Catholic studies, and social work. Students in these programs engage with a virtual community, take part in live discussions, listen to guest speakers, collaborate with classmates, and receive one-on-one feedback on their assignments from the same professors who hold classes on campus. Scheduling is flexible, so students can complete coursework at their own pace.

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