Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Interested in getting a master's degree and returning to the job market in less time? Check out some of the best 1-year online master's programs.
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Best Online Master's Degrees in 1 Year or Less

A master's degree can mean higher salaries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, and more job opportunities. Master's degrees typically take two years to complete. However, if you want to finish grad school quickly, consider one-year master's programs.

These accelerated programs offer the fastest route to an accredited, high-quality graduate degree — and some take even less than one year.

What fields and colleges offer one-year master's programs? Whether you're interested in tech, business, education, or healthcare, there are many options that allow you to earn a master's degree in one year.

Popular Online Master's Degrees

Best 1-Year Masters Programs of 2024

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Appalachian State University

  • Boone, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $544
Out-of-State | $1,420

Credits to Graduate: 36

Appalachian's online MBA program lets you start your education journey in the spring, summer, or fall semester. The program features eight concentration options, including business analytics, international business, and sustainable business. 

Most students can complete the degree in one year, but Appalachian also offers a two-year curriculum for part-time degree-seekers.

Admission typically requires GMAT or GRE scores, but Appalachian will grant waivers to students with a master's or doctoral degree. Other application materials include a personal statement and an academic writing sample. 

Out-of-state degree-seekers maintaining a minimum 3.4 graduate GPA may receive an out-of-state tuition waiver. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,242
Out-of-state
$19,849
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,839
Out-of-state
$19,849
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
20,641
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Fairfield University

  • Fairfield, CT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $935
Out-of-State | $935

Credits to Graduate: 36-42

Choose the one-year online MBA at Fairfield University if you want to specialize in analytics, economics, finance, or marketing. Fairfield also lets you create a custom core curriculum aligned with your concentration and career goals. The part-time track requires an extra year to complete. 

Fairfield has a 3.0 undergraduate GPA cutoff for admission. Other application requirements include two recommendation letters and GMAT scores. Fairfield does not charge out-of-state tuition, and you may qualify for federal financial aid programs by submitting the FAFSA. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$52,070
Out-of-state
$52,070
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$19,383
Out-of-state
$19,383
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
89%
Acceptance Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
5,826
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less Best Value

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

  • Lowell, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $655
Out-of-State | $655

Credits to Graduate: 42

You can graduate in just one year with UMass Lowell's online MBA. Students can choose a generalist route or customize their education through electives. Optional electives include accounting, business analytics, entrepreneurship, healthcare, and marketing. 

You can study part-time or full-time, graduating quicker than a traditional degree thanks to UMass Lowell's accelerated eight-week courses. 

The Manning School of Business has a rolling admissions policy and admits applicants with a bachelor's degree and completed mathematics prerequisites. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$15,078
Out-of-state
$33,004
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,590
Out-of-state
$26,370
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
17,597
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#4 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less Best Value

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost of Program:
In-State | $29,400
Out-of-State | $29,400

Credits to Graduate: 30

The online master's in accounting program at Florida International University offers concentrations in taxation and assurance. Core classes include accounting information systems technology, advanced managerial accounting, and governmental accounting. 

The program's cohort learning model helps you build personal and professional relationships with like-minded degree-seekers. 

Admission requirements include a bachelor's in accounting and a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants with at least a 3.25 GPA need not submit GMAT scores. An excellent undergraduate GPA may also qualify you for the $3,000 FIU School of Accounting MACC High Achiever Student Scholarship.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,912
Out-of-state
$21,393
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
56,664
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,525
Out-of-State | $1,525

Credits to Graduate: 33-36

Johns Hopkins' online MS in education policy can prepare you for a career as a lobbyist, policy advisor, or nonprofit director. Core classes include statistics, education finance, and diversity. You also have to complete a one-week seminar at the university's Washington, D.C. campus. 

Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, an essay, and three recommendation letters. Johns Hopkins does not require standardized test scores.

Students may qualify for institutional aid if they enroll at least part-time and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$58,720
Out-of-state
$58,720
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$58,720
Out-of-state
$58,720
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
96%
Acceptance Rate
8%
Students Enrolled
32,049
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#6 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $851
Out-of-State | $851

Credits to Graduate: 30

The online master's in accountancy at Mercer University is a synchronous program that brings the on-campus experience to you. Core classes include accounting theory, accounting and tax research, and advanced auditing. 

Mercer MBA graduates go on to work for major corporations such as Deloitte, Grant Thorton, and Porsche. 

You do not need a bachelor's in accountancy to apply. Mercer uses a test-optional admissions policy. Applicants not submitting test scores write a statement of purpose. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,024
Out-of-state
$29,024
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,244
Out-of-state
$15,244
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
9,009
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Truman State University

  • Kirksville, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $541
Out-of-State | $541

Credits to Graduate: 30

Truman's online master's in accounting degree features convenient synchronous coursework and optional lessons on the Kirksville, Missouri campus.

The 30-credit program gives you the option to choose from two tracks. The first track focuses on accounting for non-business entities, business analytics, and auditing. The second track includes courses on corporate taxation, tax research and taxation of pass-through entities.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. You do not need GMAT scores to get admitted. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,365
Out-of-state
$16,086
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$9,600
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
4,225
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Boston University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $535-$955
Out-of-State | $535-$955

Credits to Graduate:  32

The online master's in criminal justice program at Boston University lets you specialize in crime analysis, cybercrime investigation, or strategic management. All learners complete core coursework in criminology, research and evaluation methods, and applied analytical methods. 

Application materials include official transcripts, and the master's in criminal justice does not require recommendation letters. Some of the careers graduates pursue include intelligence analyst and criminal investigator. 

A private university, BU does not charge out-of-state tuition. The university awards 10 institutional graduate scholarships and provides links to the latest private financial aid opportunities. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$58,560
Out-of-state
$58,560
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$58,560
Out-of-state
$58,560
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
94%
Acceptance Rate
19%
Students Enrolled
36,104
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

University of Kentucky

  • Lexington, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost of Program:
In-State | $22,110
Out-of-State | $22,110

Credits to Graduate: 30

Aspiring social workers should consider the University of Kentucky's online MSW program. Foundation classes include professional behavior and ethics, practice with groups, and research methods. 

Three practical experience requirements will help you qualify for licensure in your home state. You customize your education in this program with optional certificates in eight areas, such as rural population wellbeing. 

The 12-month advanced standing program requires a bachelor's in social work and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Other admission requirements include a writing sample and recommendation letters.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,247
Out-of-state
$30,245
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,311
Out-of-state
$32,185
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
30,390
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in 1 Year or Less

Saint Peter's University

  • Jersey City, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $720
Out-of-State | $720

Credits to Graduate: 36

Saint Peter's master's in health science degree, emphasizing service learning and community service, features a flexible curriculum that only takes 12-15 months to complete.

This 36-credit program offers the chance to study subjects aligned with your career interests. Possible concentrations include health leadership, health education, and general studies. 

Saint Peters does not require GRE scores to apply, but you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to be admitted. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$37,660
Out-of-state
$37,660
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,186
Out-of-state
$21,186
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
3,009
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Online 1-Year Master's Programs by Field

With a fully online 1-year master's program, you can unlock higher-paying opportunities and demonstrate greater expertise in your field than you would with just a bachelor's degree. Explore the best 1-year master's programs by field with the list below.

How Do I Choose a 1-Year Online Master's Degree?

A one-year master's program offers the fastest route to graduate education. But before applying to graduate school, consider what your return on investment will be. An affordable, accelerated online program can improve your ROI.

Cost

Earning an accelerated master's degree online can save you money compared to a traditional master's program. However, you should make sure to compare program costs and research the true program cost.

Many colleges and universities charge by credit, so a one-year master's program may not cost less than a two-year program if you're taking the same amount of credits.

Program Format

While researching programs, consider the program format. Accelerated online programs may offer a synchronous or asynchronous delivery method. Asynchronous classes offer the greatest flexibility because they do not require set meeting times.

You can also research full-time and part-time options — though accelerated programs often require a full-time commitment.

Location

Does location matter with an online program? Yes, location matters whether you're enrolling in person or online. Some online programs include on-campus requirements. Local programs may also maintain relationships with local companies that hire graduates.

Tuition prices may also vary between states. Some schools charge out-of-state students higher tuition than in-state students, even in online programs. Weigh these benefits against the advantages of attending a top-ranked program in another state.

Accreditation

Accredited schools meet high standards for academic excellence. And programmatic accreditation can affect your ability to find jobs in many fields, in addition to your financial aid eligibility and ability to transfer coursework or apply to doctoral programs. Make sure to look for a master's program at an accredited institution.

Attending an unaccredited school can impact your education quality and job prospects. If a discipline has programmatic accrediting agencies, consider prioritizing accredited programs.

Student Support

Online graduate programs should offer various student support services. You can research a school's student services, like academic advising, online tutoring, and career services.

A strong alumni network, mentorship opportunities, and a program for graduate internships can also impact your education and job prospects.

Pros and Cons of Accelerated Online Master's Programs

There are some benefits and tradeoffs to pursuing an online master's degree in an accelerated format. Here are a few pros and cons for you to think about as you consider whether an accelerated program is right for you.

Pros

  • Check
    Earn your credential in less time.
  • Check
    Save money by completing your degree in fewer semesters.
  • Check
    Unlock career opportunities that require a master's degree.
  • Check
    Increase your earnings potential.
  • Check
    Gain specialized knowledge on a subject in a shorter period of time.

Cons

  • X
    One-year master's programs are usually more intensive.
  • X
    Accelerated programs can be tough if you have work or family obligations.
  • X
    You are expected to manage heavier workloads.
  • X
    Deadlines and due dates tend to be tighter.
  • X
    More difficult to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Popular Online Master's Degrees

Frequently Asked Questions About 1-Year Online Master's Programs

Is a 1-year master’s degree worth it?

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A 1-year online master's degree can be worth it, depending on your career and financial goals. You'll save money by completing your degree faster, and you'll also be able to return to the job market sooner with greater career opportunities. According to the BLS, those with a master's degree earn about $230 more each week, on average, than those with just a bachelor's degree.

However, the pace of these one-year programs can be challenging for some. One-year master's programs are more intensive than traditional two-year master's programs and require you to complete more coursework in less time. If you have demanding work or personal obligations, it may be better to enroll in a traditional two-year master's program.

Can you get a master's degree in one year?

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Yes, you can get a master's degree in one year. One-year master's degree programs are faster-paced and require you to take on a higher volume of work each semester in order to complete your degree in less time.

Accelerated programs may have more stringent requirements than their traditional counterparts to ensure you're ready to keep up with the heavier workload.

Are there any 1-year master's programs in the U.S.?

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Yes, there are many 1-year master's programs in the U.S. There are also several types of online 1-year master's programs, including in-person, hybrid, and fully online options. These 1-year accelerated programs are available in most disciplines and can help push your career forward quickly.

Are online master’s degrees legitimate?

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Yes, online master's programs at accredited universities offer the same high-quality degrees as their on-campus counterparts. Many online master's programs also use the same coursework and graduation requirements as traditional, in-person master's programs. When researching online master's programs, make sure to check for accreditation.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed November 29, 2023.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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