The most affordable master’s degree programs empower students to manage their personal responsibilities and earn a living while they are finishing their degree. The cheapest masters degree programs are offered online, but the affordability of a masters degree program isn’t just about whether you can afford the tuition.
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For the cheapest masters degree programs to make real financial sense, they have to lead to jobs. The degree has to be granted by an accredited college or university. And while containing costs is the major concern, students also need to look for accredited, widely accepted masters degree programs that lead to stable jobs with great pay.
|1||Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, Georgia|
|2||Fort Hays State University||Hays, Kansas|
|3||Old Dominion University||Norfolk, Virginia|
|4||Campbellsville University||Campbellsville, Kentucky|
|5||University of Arkansas||Fayetteville, Arkansas|
Top 20 Cheapest Masters Programs for 2021
Georgia Institute of Technology
Founded in 1885, the Georgia Institute of Technology has world-renowned programs in science and engineering. Its online masters degree programs all have a STEM emphasis: cybersecurity, business analytics, medical physics, and mechanical engineering. The university has an online SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator to help prospective students determine if distance learning is a good option for them. Georgia Tech’s online programs are much less expensive than their on-campus equivalents, but students may still have opportunities for financial aid.
Fort Hays State University
If you love history but dread the idea of writing a thesis, the MA in history offered online by Fort Hays State University may be exactly what you need. Fort Hays University also offers programs in business administration (13 different business fields), nursing, gifted and talented education, and digital marketing.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University is a public research university founded in 1930. Their masters program offers health- and sport-related studies not usually available online, such as dental hygiene and sports management. The university also offers masters degrees in aerospace engineering, cybersecurity, English, library & information studies, modeling & simulation, and nursing. The university maintains a placement center for online students, and financial aid is available.
Campbellsville University is a Baptist institution but it welcomes students of all faiths and no faith. The university offers masters degrees in service-oriented fields such as Montessori education and TOEFL, church management, social work, and music. Courses are offered over Moodle, not Skype or Zoom. There are loan and scholarship programs for online students.
University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas offers online masters degree programs that are academically equivalent to those offered on campus. They specialize in programs for public school teachers, including high school math and a specialization in educational equity for school administrators. The university also offers masters degrees in food safety and in agricultural law. Online students pay in-state tuition rates, and financial assistance is available.
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Graceland University is a private liberal arts school associated with the Community of Christ. They offer online masters degrees in religion, instructional leadership, nursing, and special education. Courses are offered asynchronously, meaning students can log on at the time most convenient for them. Financial aid is available to online students.
University of Central Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas offers 13 masters degree programs in subjects including business administration, geographic information systems, health sciences, and sport management. Instruction is delivered over Blackboard online and can be accessed on any Internet-enabled device.
University of the Cumberlands
Baptist-affiliated University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky offers masters degrees in digital forensics, counseling, coaching, nursing, and Christian studies. The university offers tutorial support and advice in person and online.
Missouri State University
Missouri State University uses the Blackboard online delivery system to offer courses in fields as diverse as special education for blind and low-vision students and cybersecurity, as well as programs in nursing, history, business education, and child life studies. The online program offers virtual tutoring and assistance with reading and writing skills. Students may be eligible for grants, scholarships, and loans.
Minot State University
Minot State University offers asynchronous learning opportunities (log in whenever you want) in 10 masters degree fields. Special education, sports management, and cybersecurity are included. The university offers financial aid and payment plans.
Western Illinois University
Western Illinois University offers online masters programs to prepare for careers as a CPA or supply chain manager. It’s also a great option if you are interested in instructional design for business or for public schools. Federal aid for tuition and living expenses and scholarships sponsored by the university may also be available.
Union College of Kentucky
Union College of Kentucky is a 140-year-old Methodist institution that offers online programs in athletic administration, education, psychology, and information systems management. The university offers loans, grants, and scholarships.
Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University offers out-of-state students in-state rates for almost all of its online courses for masters degrees. The university has programs in gerontology, history, cybersecurity, talent management, dietetics and nutrition, and reading instruction. Course content is delivered over the Brightspace online learning system, and the university has hundreds of tutorials to help students master the content of their courses.
Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University encourages prospective masters students to use their Online Readiness Tool to make sure online coursework is for them. The university offers 30 fields of study for masters degree students, including criminal justice, library science, ESOL, and special education. The university waives the out-of-state tuition differential for students taking graduate courses online.
Prescott College is one of the few colleges in the country that offers a program in adventure education. There are also degree programs in counseling and educational administration. The college may be able to provide grants, scholarships, and loans, and there are discounts for active military service members.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University offers nearly 160 courses of study through 13 colleges. Its 73 online masters degree programs include subjects ranging from soil science and horticulture to nutrition and dietetics to software engineering and higher education administration. Courses are offered asynchronously, available 24/7, through the Blackboard online learning management system,Students who learn exclusively online at Texas Tech pay tuition rates comparable to the affordable in-state rates.
University of North Georgia
University of Texas at Arlington
The online masters degree programs at the University of Texas at Arlington encompass many offerings in the medical field, including aging, patient education, pediatric care, and nursing administration. The university also offers programs in business administration and education. Courses are offered synchronously, that is, on a fixed schedule rather than on demand, but there are multiple start dates throughout the year. Online students receive waivers of out-of-state tuition charges.
Southeast Missouri State University
Online masrers students at Southeast Missouri State University have to start and finish their courses on the same schedule as on-campus students, but they can play lectures on demand on their own schedule. Courses are offered over Moodle and are either eight or sixteen weeks long. Masters students at Southeast Missouri State University can study elementary education, secondary education, educational leadership, TESOL, sport management, and business administration. The university offers over $19 million in scholarships annually, and there is a textbook rental program.
University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri offers an online masters degree in aviation safety. There are also programs in behavioral analysis, kinesiology, nutrition, criminal justice, and nursing. Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rates as in-state online students.
What we looked for in the cheapest masters degree programs.
Our list of the 20 cheapest masters degree programs prioritized price. We list the 20 cheapest masters programs in order of ascending tuition cost, starting with the rock-bottom lowest graduate tuition we can find. All of them were offered online.
We also screened schools for accreditation. Every school we list here has the regional accreditation you need for your degree to be recognized, or for your course credits to be transferred to another program should you decide to switch.
And we took a look through catalogs to confirm a diversity of fields of study. Each of the regionally accredited, nationally accepted cheapest masters degree programs we list here offers at least 10 fields of study. Several offer more than 60 majors that masters degree students can study online.
We didn’t include any programs offered by entirely on-line colleges. Every program we list here is hosted by a brick-and-mortar college that also offers graduate classes you can attend in person.
Every masters degree program we list here has professors you can meet face to face at some point in your graduate studies. And every masters degree program we list here can give you the knowledge and networking you need for a promotion or a new career.
We need your help.
We have made an effort to make sure we are giving you the very latest information about each program, but online masters programs add specializations, discontinue specializations, and change their tuition rates and policies. We appreciate your updates of this information.
We’d also love to know about your personal experiences.
Have you graduated from one of these programs? Is there a great program we need to know more about? We welcome your comments below, and invite any updates on the information we provide for each school.