Easiest Master’s Degrees to Get

Want to earn a master's degree? Learn about the easiest master's degrees of 2024 and whether a master's degree is worth the effort.
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An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D., has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a writer and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern...
Updated on January 10, 2024
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Tyler Epps is an editor for BestColleges. He writes and edits content about higher education, specializing in degree planning and college rankings. He is passionate about helping students prepare for college and navigate their educational journey. He...
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Want to boost your earning potential? Or move into a management role? A master's degree can advance your career. And some of the fastest-growing jobs require a master's degree.

Earning a graduate degree isn't easy — but some are easier than others. For example, getting your master's degree online offers more flexibility, especially if you're working in grad school. And certain degrees are easier to finish.

If you're interested in a master's degree but aren't sure where to start, check out our list of the easiest master's degrees.

What Is the Easiest Master's Degree to Get?

Master's programs are supposed to challenge you. But the difficulty level varies.

For example, an accelerated MBA program takes as little as one year to complete. If you've got strong analytical and problem-solving skills, an MBA might be the easiest master's degree.

On the other hand, if you shine with written and verbal communication, a master's in communication might be the easiest for you. When researching easy master's degrees, make sure to consider your strengths and career goals.

"Level of ease for a major depends on several factors, including subject matter, how often exams are required, and how extensive the reading and writing requirements and assignments are," says Stephanie DeBord, expert college advisor. "Areas of study in the communications, art, English, psychology, and education fields are often considered easier for students to complete than STEM majors."

We've included salary data for graduates of every program to give you the complete picture.

Methodology

How did we choose the easiest master's degrees? We looked for programs with fewer science and math requirements since many students find these courses more difficult. Our list includes programs with online options for flexibility and accelerated options for those hoping to earn their degrees as quickly as possible. We also considered factors like graduation rate and earning potential.

1. Master's in Accounting

Want a master's degree you can earn in as little as one year? Consider a master's in accounting. You'll need basic math and accounting skills, along with logical reasoning abilities. Many certified public accountants (CPAs) hold master's degrees, as do managers in accounting and related fields.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $78,000 in May 2022.

Common career paths include:

  • CPA
  • Accounting manager
  • Actuary

2. Master's in Business Administration

It's one of the most popular master's degrees — and it's also one of the easiest master's degrees. You can even earn an MBA online or on an accelerated, one-year track. If you've got strong problem-solving, analytical, and critical thinking skills, plus management aspirations, an MBA might be a great choice.

What's the ROI on an MBA? Management professionals reported the highest median wage of any occupational group at $107,360 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Popular concentrations include:

  • Finance
  • Project management
  • Entrepreneurship

Featured Online Master's in Business Administration Program

3. Master's in Communication

Already a great communicator? Then a master's in communication might be the easiest master's degree for you. You'll hone strategic communication skills as you specialize in areas like journalism, public relations, and business communications.

You can expect to earn around $73,150 per year as a writer or author (BLS, May 2022). Public relations managers earned a median salary of close to $125,620 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Communication manager
  • Fundraising manager
  • Writer or editor
  • Public relations manager

4. Master's in Counseling

Want to become a counselor? Most career paths require a master's in counseling. You'll gain treatment planning, group counseling, and clinical skills during your degree. And many easy online master's programs lead to state licensure.

Mental health, substance misuse, and behavioral disorder counselors earned a median salary of around $49,710 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Popular concentrations include:

  • Marriage and family therapy
  • School or career counseling
  • Mental health counseling

Featured Online Master's in Counseling Program

5. Master's in Criminal Justice

Interested in a law enforcement career? Or want to advance into a supervisory role? A master's in criminal justice might be the easiest way to reach your goals. You'll learn how to lead investigations, manage emergencies, and take on leadership roles in law enforcement.

The degree can also launch your career in federal law enforcement. Detectives and criminal investigators earned a median annual salary of $86,280 (BLS, May 2022).

Popular concentrations include:

  • Homeland security
  • Criminal justice administration
  • Criminology

6. Master's in Education

Already a teacher? Then a master's in education might be the easiest master's degree. You can advance your classroom skills or train for administrative roles. With a master's in educational leadership, you can become a school principal, for example.

Educators often see their earning potential increase with a master's degree. For example, K-12 principals reported a median pay of $101,320 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Popular concentrations include:

  • Educational leadership
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Educational technology

Featured Online Master's in Education Program

7. Master's in Healthcare Administration

Careers in healthcare administration are in high demand. A master's in healthcare administration program can train you to lead a medical department and oversee the business side of the healthcare industry.

The BLS projects that these roles will see 28% job growth from 2022-2032. Medical and health services managers earned a median salary of $101,830 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Hospital administrator
  • Health information manager
  • Nursing home administrator

Featured Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Program

8. Master's in Human Resources

HR is an easy online master's degree if you're looking for a high return on investment. You can earn a master's in human resources in as little as one year. And many management roles in HR report high salaries.

How much can you earn? HR managers reported a median annual salary of $130,000 (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Training and development manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager

9. Master's in Information Technology

Learn how to bridge business and technology with a master's in information technology. If applied tech comes easy to you, this could be the master's degree to help you break into a high-paying field. You'll qualify for lucrative management roles in tech with a master's in information technology.

Computer and information systems managers reported some of the highest salaries in tech, with a median wage of over $164,000 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • IT manager
  • Information security manager
  • Data scientist

10. Master's in Marketing

If you enjoy analyzing data and making strategic decisions, marketing could be a great fit. You can earn a master's in marketing or an MBA in marketing to move into high-paying management roles.

Whether you work in marketing, sales, advertising, or a related field, you can see a major salary bump with a master's degree. Marketing managers reported a median salary of over $138,000 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Marketing manager
  • Digital marketing manager
  • Sales manager

11. Master's in Management

Hone your leadership skills with a master's in management. If you're looking for career advancement in any business field, management is an easy online master's degree. And with a virtual format, you can work while in grad school.

Managers report some of the highest salaries in business. General and operations managers earned a median wage of $98,100 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Project manager
  • Operations manager
  • General manager

Featured Online Master's in Management Program

12. Master's in Nursing

Already a nurse? Earning your MSN degree can mean a higher salary and greater responsibilities. You can become a nursing administrator or nurse educator with a one-year MSN program. Nurse practitioner programs generally take longer to complete.

A master's degree can help you move into higher-paying RN roles. The highest-paid RNs reported median salaries of over $129,000 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Popular specializations include:

  • Nursing leadership
  • Nurse educator
  • Nursing informatics

13. Master's in Political Science

Interested in politics? Earning a master's in political science can lead to roles in political campaigns or research and policymaking. Poli sci is also one of the easiest online master's degrees since the coursework easily adapts to a distance learning format.

The degree can increase your earning potential. Political scientists reported high salaries, with a median annual wage of $128,020 (BLS, May 2022).

Common career paths include:

  • Political scientist
  • Survey researcher
  • Policy analyst

14. Master's in Psychology

Dive into human behavior with a master's in psychology. You can prepare for a doctoral program to become a psychologist or strengthen your counseling and workplace performance knowledge to become a therapist or industrial-organizational psychologist.

You only need a master's degree to work as an industrial-organizational psychologist. These professionals earned a median salary of $139,280 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Popular concentrations include:

  • Counseling psychology
  • Child psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology

Featured Online Master's in Psychology Program

15. Master's in Social Work

Prepare for a career in clinical social work by earning your MSW degree. You'll learn how to advocate for clients and shape social welfare policy during your degree program. And if you've got a BSW, this is the quickest master's degree to earn, with accelerated tracks for social work majors.

Social workers earned a median wage of $55,350 per year (BLS, May 2022). A master's degree and additional experience can lead to higher salaries.

Popular concentrations include:

  • Clinical social work
  • Social welfare policy
  • Children, youth, and family social work

Is a Master's Degree Worth It?

Is it worth getting a master's degree? That depends on your career goals and the field you wish to enter. Some careers require a graduate degree. In other fields, a master's can mean a major salary boost.

When calculating the ROI of a master's degree, consider the cost of grad school and your future earning potential. It's also worth considering an online degree, which can save you money.

So should you go to grad school? The answer depends on your personal and financial situation — so do research before applying to programs.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Easiest Master's Degrees

How long does it take to get a master's degree?

Most master's programs take two years for full-time students. But you can also enroll in accelerated master's programs. These programs generally take 12-18 months to complete. And many universities offer one-year master's programs in business, education, and other fields.

Before applying to master's programs, look into the length of the program and the average time it takes to graduate. Reputable programs provide data on how long recent grads spent in the program.

How many credits is a master's degree?

Most master's degree programs require students to complete a minimum of 30 credits. However, some programs require more credits. For example, a general MBA might take 30-36 credits, while an MBA with an added concentration might take up to 45 credits. Similarly, some healthcare and counseling master's programs that require clinical placements take up to 60 credits.

If you're considering a master's degree, check with specific programs about the credit requirements. The exact number varies from program to program.

What percentage of Americans have a master's degree?

In 2021, 14.4% of the U.S. held advanced degrees, including master's degrees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Around 24.1 million people in the U.S. hold a master's degree as their highest degree.

The number of people with a master's degree continues to grow. In 2001, only 11 million people in the U.S. held a master's degree, so the number has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

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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