Top 5 Graduate Online Programs

By Jill Gardiner , last updated December 16, 2011

Online Master’s degree programs have opened up a world of possibilities to busy professionals who, because of their overloaded work schedules, have found it impossible to fit even one on-campus graduate level class into their lives. While online graduate programs used to be almost exclusively the domain of a few smaller schools, some top schools are now offering online classes and degree programs in several popular subjects for the time and/or distance-challenged. If you’ve been postponing furthering your education because your schedule or location isn’t conducive to pursuing a graduate degree, wait no more! Have a look at these five graduate online programs from some of the top universities in the country.


If you want to go as far as possible in your business career, you’re going to need an MBA. While you used to have to go as far as possible geographically to get to the campus of a top business school, the Kelley Graduate School of Business at Indiana University has changed all that. In their online MBA program, you’ll have access to the same stellar faculty that teach the traditional classes as well as opportunities to hobnob with staff and other online students at one of their two week-long residencies. A full-time semester load consists of six credit hours with a total of 51 credits needed for a degree with a tuition of about $60,000.


A Master’s degree in technology and an online program seem like they would go hand in hand, and now they do thanks to Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development. You can pursue this 45-credit MS in Computer Science in one of ten approved specializations including computer and network security, database systems, and artificial intelligence, or you can get even more flexibility from the school by designing your own program proposal to suit your needs or interests. The tuition for this program is just under $60,000 and takes on average three to five years to complete.


If anyone knows the value of a quality education, it’s a teacher, but unfortunately most teachers tend to have limited time to further their own. At Michigan State University’s College of Education, however, teachers can now improve their professional repertoire by getting a Master of Arts in hot fields like special education, science and math, technology and learning, and literacy education. Taught exclusively by MSU faculty, you can use what you’re learning in this 30-credit program in your classroom immediately. Tuition runs around $18,000 for residents, $32,000 for non-residents.


Professionals in the ever-growing field of healthcare would do well to pursue a higher degree to keep current and competitive. The Bloomberg School of Public Health at prestigious Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Public Health degree online, although you must attend orientation and do a portion of the coursework face-to-face. The flexibility of full-time or part-time coursework, however, and the fact that it was ranked the number one school of public health by US News & World Report make it more than worthwhile to take a look. Tuition is $892 per credit or $10,704 per semester for full-time students.


If even a traditional online degree program is too taxing for your schedule, you may want to consider looking into self-paced graduate programs such as those offered at California Coast University. They offer Masters Degrees in business, education, management, and psychology as well as three doctoral programs. Cost per credit is extremely reasonable as well, only $225 per credit.

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