Some careers and employers will require a master’s degree despite your work experience. In fact, many people will not be able to advance within a company or within their field of study without an advanced education. Certain jobs require specialization or a more intricate understanding of a subject to be able to work in the profession. This can only be obtained through the proper training and education, which you can learn more about through University HQ. Luckily, colleges and universities understand that professionals cannot leave their jobs in order to attend school for several years, so they offer plenty of online courses and flexible, online-focused graduate programs.
It is also important to note that not all master’s degrees are created equally. Program participants must choose the right master’s degree for their field or it will not be beneficial to their career path or help to improve their earning potential. You must choose an accredited higher learning institution for the best master’s programs or online master's degrees. You should also consider whether you should pursue a master’s degree as a full-time or part-time student and whether or not you will take courses online or on-campus.
Students who have just earned their undergraduate degree, of course, have the option to focus on their experience rather than a master's degree. However, in person or online master's degrees may provide the extra bump your resume needs to give current students access to the career of their dreams. Some of the fields from around the world which might require graduate degrees from top universities designed to provide real depth in the subject so that professionals may earn a certificate, skip years of experience before earning a promotion, and learn how to apply business analytics and communications within their field may include:
- Project Management
- Public Policy
- Engineering Management
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Social Sciences or Social Work
What is a Master’s Degree?
A master’s degree is the next degree students can earn once a bachelor’s degree has been completed. A master’s degree allows students to specialize in a niche area or to gain a better understanding of their field of study, whether that is environmental diversity, the U.S. political structure and foreign relations, information technology and cyber security, the English language, or international business so they can work anywhere around the world. You can search for, select a degree level or type, and apply to the program that best matches your needs. The length of study will often depend upon the program participant and the college or university graduate students choose. Those who are able to enroll as full-time students should finish within the designated time of study.
This length of time will depend upon the program. Some programs will take two years to complete, whereas other master's programs require only one year. In more rare instances, the program could take three years. If individuals participates as part-time students, it could take many years to complete a Master of Science or Master of Arts degree, but the benefit of enrolling as a part-time student is that these students can more easily work full-time and care for their families with minimal disruption to their normal routines. These students often graduate with significantly less debt too.
What Master's Online College Major Should You Choose?
People with a master’s degree are often more likely to be hired over someone with a bachelor’s degree. When you hold a master’s degree, it demonstrates to potential employers that you have a more in-depth knowledge base than someone without such an advanced degree. It will also improve your skill set so that you make fewer mistakes once you begin working in decision-making positions. In many instances, someone with a master’s degree will even be hired over a person with more experience if they have less education. In some fields, such as engineering, a master of engineering may be required to prove you are knowledgeable enough in the field.
A master’s degree will increase your earning potential by roughly $10,000 to $15,000 over an undergraduate degree. It will also make sure you are a competitive candidate in a growing talent pool of job seekers holding a master’s degree. Today, a master’s degree is becoming the basic standard professionals choose to complete for better employment opportunities. This is how competitive the job market is for educated people today. And, as another bonus, a master’s degree will lower your chances of unemployment altogether. That's not bad for master's programs which may only take you two years to complete.
Master’s Degree Overview
Nearly every field of study has a specialized master’s degree one can complete to improve their prospects of a successful career. It is also important to note that a master of arts and a master of science differ despite sometimes being offered as master's degrees within the same fields of study.
There are many types of Graduate Degrees:
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Science (MS)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Laws (LLM)
- Master of Library Science (MLS)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Research (MRes)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Master of Social Work (MSW)
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
- Master of Music (MM)
- Master of Engineering (MEng)
- Master of Architecture (MArch)
Typical Degree Requirements
Master’s programs require up to 18 courses to complete. The number of courses and credit hours will vary based on the college, university, and the degree of specialization. You will also usually be required to complete a bachelor’s degree before you can begin a master’s program. Many accredited colleges and universities will require the completion of a prerequisite examination, such as the LSAT, GMAT, GRE, or MAT.
Common Testing & Exam Requirements
- The GMAT
The Graduate Management Administration Test (GMAT) is used as an indicator by accredited colleges and top universities as to whether or not applicants will make good candidates for their master's programs. The GMAT is used mostly by business schools for admissions into their degrees and programs. You will have to receive a specific minimal GMAT score to enter into most reputable programs. While this is not the only criteria, it does hold significant value to admissions committees, though in some instances the GMAT is no longer used.
- The GRE
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is used for many graduate programs of all types. Potential graduate students can take this test as a master’s degree entrance exam for a variety of master's programs such as law, doctoral, MBA, social sciences and social work, information technology, and other business applicants. Individuals might have bachelor’s degrees in a wide variety of fields; their previous course of study can be less important than their exam results. Many schools around the world accept the GRE as an entrance exam requirement. In this exam, you will be tested on verbal and quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.
- The LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is used by most reputable law schools in the US and Canada to determine whether or not one will gain acceptance into their master's programs. Some international colleges and universities are beginning to use this exam as a prerequisite too. You will be tested on logical and analytical reasoning and reading comprehension. Certain law schools will accept other exams in place of the LSAT; however, the LSAT is the only examination that is approved and valued by all ABA-accredited colleges and universities with law schools throughout the US.
- The MAT
The Millers Analogies Test (MAT) is comparable to the GRE in that it is a general exam. This test is used to examine the analytical abilities of possible graduate school candidate students. It helps to determine whether or not a potential program participant can relate classroom lessons into real-life experiences rather than just possessing the ability to repeat and memorize information. It is believed that those individuals who perform well on this exam will perform well in a master's program.
Master’s Degrees and MBA future growth predictions
The US Census Bureau has reported that roughly 9.3% of US adults have a master’s degree compared to over 20% who have a bachelor’s degree. The total percentage of individuals completing an advanced degree is roughly 15%. This includes a master’s degree, professional degrees, and doctoral degrees. The percentages for these degrees increase slightly each year. The total number of master’s degrees has increased by 56% between 2001 and 2015. This figure is expected to increase another 22% by 2026, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
What are the most popular master’s degrees online?
Because master’s degrees are becoming more and more commonplace as a basic requirement for career advancement, many people choose to pursue online master's degrees from accredited colleges and universities. Online master’s degrees are often popular so that people can gain work experience, keep their jobs, and take care of children while they complete their degrees. The most popular degree programs overall vary greatly due to location and expense but may include options such as business administration, criminal justice, psychology, nursing, education, engineering, healthcare administration, computer science, accounting, and human services.
What Are the Types of Online Master’s Degrees?
Choosing a master’s degree program is equally as important as completing a master’s degree for the best long-term career success. You have to consider various aspects, including the type of master’s degree, whether or not you choose an online or brick-and-mortar classroom, the accreditation of the higher learning institute, the graduation rate, the relevance of the degree to your field, and the amount of debt you will be able to afford to pay back upon completion of the degree.
What is an Online Master of Arts (MA) Degree?
A master of arts degree often focuses on the areas of humanities and liberal arts. You might be in pursuit of a better career in a wide variety of fields, such as languages, art, linguistics, teaching, communication, counseling, or literature. The method of teaching in an MA degree program varies from other master’s degrees in that these degrees often focus significantly more on discussion and research.
- Average Cost - $40,000
- Time to Completion - 2 years
- Sample Courses Include - Philosophy, History, Social Science
- Grant Writer
What is an Online Master of Science (MS) Degree?
A master of science degree focuses far more on mathematical and scientific skills than other master degree programs. You might consider an MS degree for more technical and analytical jobs, such as scientific research, lab work, public health, economics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science. These jobs often require in-depth analyses and evaluations and the degrees often require an extensive research-based thesis complete with analytical findings.
- Average Cost - $50,400
- Time to Completion - 2 years
- Sample Courses - Analysis, Management, Research
- Financial Manager
- Corporate Counselor
- Community College Instructor
- Software Engineer
What is an Online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree?
A master of fine arts degree allows program participants to become industry leaders in art, design, literature, music, and other artistic and cultural careers. These degrees are often far more intensive than a standard MA degree. You will gain invaluable hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge necessary to be a leader in these industries.
- Average Cost - $50,100
- Time to Completion - 2 years
- Sample Courses - Creative Writing, Studio Art, Digital Art
- Graphic Design
- Content Writing
- Studio Artist
- Art Gallery Manager
- Museum of Fine Arts Director
- College Instructor
What is an Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree?
An MBA is one of the most popular business-focused graduate degree programs. These degrees center on studies and lessons in theoretical and practical learning and training. Anyone who wishes to pursue a managerial, executive, or leadership role within a business should look into an MBA. It is possible to specialize within this degree or to simply complete a general MBA that teaches business courses, such as finance, accounting, management, business law, and marketing. Most people will have to complete the GMAT exam to be accepted to a reputable, accredited college or university.
- Average Cost - $60,000
- Time to Completion - 2 years
- Sample Courses - Accounting, Ethics, Finance, Economics, Marketing, Management and Operations
- Operations Logistics
- General Management
What is a Master of Education (MEd) degree?
A master of education degree is considered more of a professional degree for teachers. Individuals who complete these degrees often have ambitious career paths leading toward policy and procedure within the educational system at any level. Program participants will learn the best ways to work in the education system, to work with teachers, administrators, policy, parents, and board members. Most importantly, they will learn to collaborate with everyone diplomatically in order to influence positive change within any system.
- Average Cost - $24,400
- Time to Completion - 2 years
- Sample Courses - Educational Leadership, Curriculum Design and Development
- Adult Literacy Teacher
- Instructional Coordinator
- Reading Specialist
What Can I Do With an Online Master’s Degree?
An online master’s degree is not the highest degree you can earn, but it is the highest degree most who go back to school after their bachelor’s degree will earn. Most positions don’t require a master’s degree, but it can catch an employer’s eye when you put it on your resume. And, in some cases, it really is necessary. If you want to move into management or make it to the C-suites in a company, you’re going to want to earn a master’s or a full-fledged MBA.
An online master’s degree isn’t a long a time commitment as an online bachelor’s; it should only take two years to earn this distinction. And, you won’t be expected to head back to the dorm rooms either. Master’s degrees are mostly offered in time-friendly formats: on the weekends, in the evenings, in an online format. Schools know that students looking to earn a master’s are usually already holding a full-time position, so they know they have to make your master’s classes accessible, and that’s exactly what they do.
Highest Paying Master’s Graduate Careers
Some careers benefit more so than others with a master’s degree. The highest paying master’s graduate careers are often in-demand and challenging to attain. People who are willing to invest the time, money, and hard work can receive a significant return on investment if they complete a master’s degree.
Most Popular Jobs and Careers for MA, MS, MBA
Master of Arts (MA) Careers:
- Clinical Therapist: $48,500
A clinical therapist often works in a medical setting to help establish the mental and emotional challenges of patients. It is also possible to work in a social work or outreach agency environment. Some clinical therapists will work with individuals; whereas, others will work in a group setting.
- Natural Science Laboratory Manager: -
A natural science laboratory manager spends the majority of their time in the office performing managerial duties. This type of position will also allow for time spent with hands-on lab experience. This profession involves project development, research, quality control, and testing. You might find natural science laboratory managers in the science fields of biology, physics, and chemistry.
- Industrial Psychologist: $77,800
An industrial psychologist is also referred to as an organizational psychologist. These professionals work in business environments to help improve the quality of life of individuals in the workplace. They will examine the working behavior, management, and productivity of all employees to determine the best ways to make workplace improvements.
- Educator: $51,300
With a master's degree, teachers can consider work in school administration. Otherwise, public school and even most private school teachers invariably receive a raise for having an advanced degree. If they remain in the classroom, teachers spend their time creating lesson plans, teaching, and acting as a mentor for their students. Administrators help manage a school, including curriculum design, physical maintenance, student discipline, as well as managing teachers.
- Editor: $53,100
Editors can work for periodical publications including magazines, academic journals, and daily newspapers. They are also found working for publishing houses or on a freelance basis where they consult with independent authors and publishers. Editors are concerned with correcting basic grammar and style issues in addition to fact checking and otherwise correcting the core content of written work.
- School Psychologist: $62,500
This is a specialty that sits somewhere between a traditional psychologist and a teacher. These professionals work in schools and help students cope with various stresses from home, peers, and schoolwork.
- Physicist: $95,200
These scientists can work in a wide variety of settings. Some work for nuclear facilities, but others are employed as researchers by universities or private industry. Physicists can be found helping to design state-of-the-art batteries, energy systems, and more.
- Journalist: $40,700
Journalists are considered a vital part of a functioning democracy. Newspaper and magazine reporters cover a specialty beat where they must cultivate and track down sources, attend relevant events such as press conferences or even concerts, and submit their written copy in a timely fashion. Journalists must be able to synthesize a vast amount of information in a short time frame.
Online Master of Science (MS) Careers:
- Telecommunications Engineer: $80,600
Telecommunications engineers are becoming some of the most in-demand engineers of all. These engineers work with a variety of modes of communication to examine data within text, phone calls, video chats, and voice transmissions. They will work with television, radio, satellite, the Internet, optical fibers, and computer networks.
- Computer Software Engineer: $78,200
As a computer software engineer, you will be responsible for the development of operating data and programs for computers and other electronic devices. You might also be responsible for consulting with businesses on their wants and needs for software applications and possibly even design and installation.
- Mathematical Statistician: $78,600
Mathematical statisticians solve problems and create solutions to confounding questions. These mathematics professionals will collect data to analyze. You might use software programs to process the data in a more rapid manner. It is also possible that individuals will be required to work on projects and problems in a more traditional manner.
- Public Policy Professional: $58,100
These workers tend to work as consultants for cities and politicians in the pursuit of the very best policy positions. They conduct research and create papers that cover a given topic and seek to make recommendations regarding various issues that impact the general public. Public policy professionals might also work as lobbyists or in public administration.
- Engineer: $78,800
There are many different sorts of engineer, but they all are primarily concerned with applying science to building new structures or systems. Electrical engineers, for instance, might work in an office overseeing a cellphone network. Others, such as civil engineers, might design, draft, and oversee the construction of a massive structure, such as a bridge.
- Accountant: $51,600
These business professionals work with individuals or corporations to prepare tax documents, establish businesses, audit financial documents, or oversee billing and payable accounts. CPAs are licensed to sign tax or other documents and thus earn more due to their expertise and licensure.
- Economist: $76,600
Economists work in many different environments including banks, think tanks, corporations, and government agencies. They spend time researching economic trends and other data which they write up in lengthy reports. While some start their careers with only a four-year degree, a master's degree is vital for those who wish to take their career higher. Further, economists who have a master's degree and significant experience can enter academia as instructors or researchers.
- Nurse Practitioner: $97,200
Nurse practitioners are highly skilled nursing professionals who have master's degrees. They perform many of the functions of a medical doctor and often work under the license of an MD. Thus, nurse practitioners are able to write prescriptions, conduct examinations, and diagnose illnesses.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) Careers:
- Investment Banker: $100,600
An investment banker works with clients to help raise capital by selling equity of the company or by issuing debt. These financial professionals can work with millions and billions of dollars in a year or over the course of their career. It is also possible that investment bankers will be responsible for the underwriting of each deal. These professionals typically work in a group to minimize risk to any one individual.
- Financial Manager: $74,200
A financial manager will typically work with either businesses or individuals rather than both. You will ensure the financial health of all of your clients. This might be done by generating reports, advising on investments, creating long-term financial strategies and goals, and much more. You might work for a bank, an insurance company, or be self-employed.
- Chief Technology Officer: $162,300
A chief technology officer (CTO) is one of the most critical positions of any company or organization. As a CTO you will be responsible for all technology-related policies and procedures. These individuals ensure that the use of technology aligns with the overall goals of the company and the CEO.
- Management: -
Managers oversee employees in their day-to-day work but also are concerned with budget matters including inventory, payroll expenses, and other pertinent business issues. Managers must be adept at making the most of the human capital they are entrusted with. Thus, they may need to assemble the perfect team for a project. Managers also must be involved with hiring, firing, and training employees to meet their firm's goals.
- Credit Analyst: $51,800
Businesses rely on credit to fund new ventures or to bridge a gap in revenues. A credit analyst uses their financial acumen to determine which businesses or individuals are worthy of that credit. With an online master's degree, these analysts often work as consultants and are often found traveling the world to consult with banks or other lenders.
- Marketing Executive: $59,100
These professionals oversee the marketing campaigns for their individual firm, but some might work for government agencies. They work hard to find the best consumer market for their goods or services. With an online master's degree, executives may oversee entire marketing campaigns or coordinate a team of market analysts, creative professionals, and others who orchestrate campaigns.
- Logistician: -
Logisticians often study supply chain management for their MBA degree. They are concerned with sourcing materials and determining the best shipping routes for those goods. Thus, logisticians might work for courier services, manufacturing concerns, or any business that relies on a steady flow of goods to or from their facilities.
- Chief Executive Officer: $155,500
CEOs have the most coveted position in all of business. They also shoulder the full responsibility for their firm. CEOs frequently need an MBA and a lot of experience to attain their title. Their daily duties can include meetings with department heads, consultations with economists or financial analysts, and pursing new opportunities for their firm.
- Investment Banker – Associate: $100,600
Investment bankers work with corporations to raise funds from public or private sources, manage mergers and acquisitions, and pursue market research on an ongoing basis for clients who retain their services. Bankers at the associate level have typically completed two or more years as an analyst, earned an MBA, and thus oversee one or more analysts. They and their analysts support the vice president and director who are their supervising executives.
Master’s Salaries by Career
|Occupation||Entry-Level Median Annual Salary||Mid-Career Median Annual Salary||Late-Career Median Annual Salary|
|Natural Science Laboratory Manager||-||-||-|
|Computer Software Engineer||$72,500||$92,300||-|
|Chief Technology Officer||$98,700||$133,700||$183,900|
Important Questions to Ask (FAQ)
Online Vs On-Campus
It's not only bachelor’s degrees, but also master’s degrees which have moved into the online arena. Since most higher-level degrees are more academic than hands-on, they are perfect for completing in a 100% online format. However, you should think hard about whether or not you will do well in an online master's degree before starting the master's program in this format.
While online master's degrees allow for flexibility, virtual master's programs require a lot of time management and negate the possibility of face-to-face interaction and most chances for networking that you might have in an on-campus class. If you need to keep your job or care for family members, then this will give you the freedom to do so, but you’re going to have to work extra hard to hold yourself accountable to the schedule that is expected of you. It may also still take you more than two years to complete any of these programs depending on the time you have available to put towards your schooling.
If you have problems focusing on academic study, you may want to opt for a traditional experience or take a few classes on campus to give you a cohort for the more difficult courses of your master's degree.
How long does it take?
The time it will take to complete an online master’s degree will vary based on the type of master's degree and whether or not you complete it online or on-campus. Most people who take an online master's degree will do so for the flexibility to be able to continue to work as a full-time employee. This will limit the number of classes one can take during the academic year. Most graduate degrees take one year or two years to complete as a full-time student for both online and on-campus programs. Fewer programs take six semesters as a full-time student to complete. The fewer number of courses you complete each academic semester, the longer it will take for you to complete your degree, whether on-campus or online.
How much does a Master’s degree cost?
The cost of a master’s degree is dependent partially upon the type of university or higher learning institution you choose to attend. Students who select a private college or university could end up paying more than double the rate they would pay if they were to attend a public college or university. In 2017, the average master’s degree cost nearly $25,000 for one year of schooling. It is important to note that over the past decade, the cost of a master’s degree has increased by roughly 45% at public colleges and universities; whereas, the cost at a private college or university has only increased by 16%.
With the growing popularity of advanced degrees, the trend of increasing costs of master’s degrees is projected to continue. And now, some traditional higher learning institutions are beginning to charge more for online master’s degrees as well, claiming it is for the convenience of learning at home. Other reputable institutions will establish a price for online master's degrees to be reflective of the actual operating costs which is a tremendous savings to online master’s degree students over a traditional classroom.
Does the school have the college major(s) you’re considering?
When selecting the right higher learning institute for your needs, it's imperative that you consider the types of degrees and majors offered at the college or university. The master’s degree you choose should be directly related to the career path you wish to take. While the degree does not have to be the exact niche which you wish to pursue, it must be in the same field.
It is also important to consider your long-term career plans. If you wish to become an administrator at a hospital, it is a good idea to specialize in hospital administration so that you can learn both business and healthcare skills that are essential to successfully manage such a unique industry. You should only enroll in a higher learning institution that offers whatever master’s degree is directly beneficial to your immediate and future career paths.
How many students graduate “on time,” in four years?
The on-time graduation rate is a highly important factor to consider. Colleges and universities with low on-time graduation rates might have them for a number of reasons. It could equate to the fact the program is overly difficult, with few students capable of completing the degree program. It is possible that the program is not living up to its promises or that the professors are not excelling in their teaching efforts.
A low on-time graduation rate in four-years is generally not considered a positive selling point. If a school as a high on-time graduation rate, this is usually beneficial to all parties. This means the college or university is working with both professors and students to create the most optimal curriculum for all parties involved. A high on-time graduation rate also results in lower education expenses related to your degree program outside of tuition.
What kind of accreditation does the online program hold? How is it regarded?
Accreditation is highly important for your master’s degree to be considered of value by employers. The same is true if you are required to take additional examinations or licensure by state governing bodies to receive specific certifications that allow you to qualify to work in certain jobs. You must attend an approved and regionally accredited college or university for the best career opportunities and earning potential. It is important to note that degree programs can also be accredited by reputable, professional organizations that will provide you with distinct career advantages. If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, you should be sure to inquire about which accredited higher learning institutions qualify.
(ISC)² Graduate Cybersecurity Scholarship
Amount: $1,000-$5,000 (Up to 20 Awards)
The ISC2 Graduate Cybersecurity Scholarship awards up to 20 scholarships each year to graduate students with an emphasis on information assurance or cybersecurity. Applicants must meet a number of requirements to qualify for the scholarship, such as at least a 3.5 GPA, attend any graduate program in person or online and be enrolled in a master’s degree program. The award is 100% dedicated to tuition, books, and course-related fees.
ACHE Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship
Amount: $5,000 (Up to 15 Awards)
Deadline: March 31
The ACHE Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship is awarded by the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Roughly 15 scholarships will be awarded each year to students who wish to specialize in a healthcare management graduate degree program. Recipients must be entering the final year of their studies as a full-time student. You must be able to demonstrate financial need, be a US or Canadian citizen and that you have not been a previous recipient. It is important to note that applicants who are a Student Associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives will be given preference over all others.
AICP Scholarship Program
Deadline: June 1
The Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals fund this AICP Scholarship Program.
This scholarship is awarded to deserving applicants who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, attend an approved and accredited college or university, and participate in extracurricular activities. All applicants must also enroll in a master’s degree program that specializes in a business-related field, insurance, actuarial science, finance, management, mathematics, economics, statistics, or risk management.
American Psychological Association
The APA has the most extensive membership base in all of the scientific and professional psychology organizations in the US and the world. The overall goal and vision of the APA is to advance research-based knowledge through application, communication, and creation in the industry to improve the lives of all. Members can have varied professional backgrounds, such as clinicians, consultants, educators, students, and researchers. Members receive access to the latest trends and discounts on professional materials.
Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
The Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence is a non-profit organization that focuses on the advancement of intelligent behavior and their actions within machines. The society and its members are dedicated to responsible uses of AI and AI research. It is also a platform on which both funders and researchers can unite to work on groundbreaking projects. The organization as a whole also hosts seminars, conferences, and workshops for all members to connect and share information and research.
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization
The EO brings together entrepreneurs of all kinds to ensure greater success in both the personal and business lives of each member. It is an extensive global organization that encourages all members to share in their experiences so that all members can learn from each other and develop as business leaders. The platform hosts online forums, c-level education opportunities, leadership development, and more. EO places significant emphasis on both professional and personal growth to be successful.
Choosing an Accredited College
Attending a college or university with the right accreditations will drastically improve your career options and long-term pay possibilities. If you attend a regionally accredited higher learning institution and a degree program that is highly accredited, you will have far more career advancement opportunities. These accreditations are the way by which employers are able to determine the quality of the education you have received. If you complete degree programs from schools with the best accreditations, you are far more likely to remain ahead of any competition for the best jobs and you will make more money.
Graduates: Finding Your Career
As you approach the completion of your degree program, it is time to consider the type of job you wish to seek. Many graduate degree programs offer job placement assistance as part of their services. It is also possible to attend alumni networking events, speak with your human resource manager if you currently work, and to work with reputable job placement services that specialize in well-educated professionals.
Top 10 Best Master’s Degree Programs
The oldest higher education institution in the United States, Harvard University, is a private, Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institution supports approximately 6,700 undergraduate students, 13,120 graduate and professional students, and 2,400 faculty members. While Harvard University as a whole has no formal mission statement, the undergraduate Harvard College strives to educate citizens and leaders through the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education. Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, there are three campuses: Cambridge, Longwood, and Allston. The endowment for the 2018 fiscal year was $39.2 billion.
- In-State: $73,440
- Out-of-State: $73,440
- Rank: #1
- Total Enrollment: 31,566
- Graduation Rate: 98%
- Diplomas Awarded: 1161
Columbia University in the City of New York
One of the world’s most important research centers, Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League research university. The institution supports 9,000 undergraduate students, 16,220 graduate and professional students, 4,470 medical center graduate students, 3,720 special program students, and 4,360 faculty members. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Columbia University strives to support research and teaching on global issues, as well as to create academic relationships with other regions and countries. Their endowment was $10.9 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $77,376
- Out-of-State: $77,376
- Rank: #2
- Total Enrollment: 31,077
- Graduation Rate: 96%
- Diplomas Awarded: 1141
One of the world’s greatest academic institutions, Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League research university located in Hanover, New Hampshire. The institution supports approximately 4,400 undergraduate students, 2,100 graduate and professional students, and 950 faculty members. Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Dartmouth College has more than 50 different departments and programs. The institution accepts only the most promising students and strives to prepare them for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. Their endowment was $5.7 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $77,520
- Out-of-State: $77,520
- Rank: #3
- Total Enrollment: 6,572
- Graduation Rate: 95%
- Diplomas Awarded: 290
University of California – Berkeley
Founded in 1868, the University of California – Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. The institution supports approximately 30,850 undergraduate students, 11,660 graduate and professional students, and 1,600 faculty members. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of California – Berkeley has 184 academic departments and programs that offer more than 350 different degree programs. The institution strives to “contribute even more than California’s gold to the glory and happiness of advancing generations.” Their endowment was $4.7 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $64,246
- Out-of-State: $68,444
- Rank: #4
- Total Enrollment: 42,501
- Graduation Rate: 91%
- Diplomas Awarded: 590
University of Pennsylvania
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia. The institution supports approximately 10,470 undergraduate students, 10,890 graduate and professional students, and 4,720 faculty members. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the University of Pennsylvania offers students access to four undergraduate and 12 graduate schools. The institution strives to solve today’s problems by encouraging both intellectual and practical pursuits. Their endowment was $14.7 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $80,432
- Out-of-State: $80,432
- Rank: #5
- Total Enrollment: 25,860
- Graduation Rate: 95%
- Diplomas Awarded: 366
A place for learning, discovery, innovation, expression, and discourse; Stanford University is a private research university located in Stanford, California. The institution supports approximately 6,990 undergraduate students, 9,390 graduate and professional students, and 2,280 faculty members. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Stanford University has seven distinct schools offering a variety of degrees. The institution works to improve the health and well being of people around the world through the discovery and application of knowledge. Their endowment was $27.7 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $74,706
- Out-of-State: $74,706
- Rank: #6
- Total Enrollment: 17,381
- Graduation Rate: 94%
- Diplomas Awarded: 488
A federal land-grant institution, Cornell University is a private, Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York. The institution supports approximately 15,050 undergraduate students, 6,280 graduate students, 2,700 professional students, and 1,680 faculty members. Accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, Cornell University consists of 15 colleges and schools of study that cover 80 formal major fields. The institution strives to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge to students, the people of New York, and others around the world. Their endowment was $7.2 billion in the 2018 fiscal year.
- In-State: $71,940
- Out-of-State: $71,940
- Rank: #7
- Total Enrollment: 23,600
- Graduation Rate: 95%
- Diplomas Awarded: 753
University of Notre Dame
Defined by its Catholic character, the University of Notre Dame is a private research university located in Notre Dame, Indiana. The institution supports approximately 8,620 undergraduate students, 3,990 graduate and professional students, and 1,310 faculty members. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the University of Notre Dame consists of 8 colleges and schools of study and offers 75 undergraduate majors. The institution is one of America’s leading undergraduate teaching schools. Their endowment was $13.3 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $58,030
- Out-of-State: $58,030
- Rank: #8
- Total Enrollment: 12,607
- Graduation Rate: 97%
- Diplomas Awarded: 255
University of Chicago
Committed to free an open inquiry, the University of Chicago is a private, urban research university located in Chicago, Illinois. The institution supports approximately 6,290 undergraduate students, 10,160 graduate and professional students, and 2,380 faculty members. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, the University of Chicago has five divisions and six professional schools for graduate study. The institution strives to empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in the pursuit of originality. Their endowment was $8.5 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $73,440
- Out-of-State: $73,440
- Rank: #9
- Total Enrollment: 17,002
- Graduation Rate: 94%
- Diplomas Awarded: 1225
The nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown University is a private research institution located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. The school supports approximately 17,000 students and 2,610 faculty members. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Georgetown University has 11 different schools of study. The institution uses a holistic approach to education that encourages the spirit of inquiry. Their endowment was $1.6 billion in 2019.
- In-State: $60,894
- Out-of-State: $60,894
- Rank: #10
- Total Enrollment: 19,204
- Graduation Rate: 94%
- Diplomas Awarded: 574