By BMD Staff

September 2016

What are the best one-year online master’s degree programs? You’ve come to the right place to find out!

There are plenty of articles out there about online graduate programs that you can complete in one year, but most of them include a mere five to ten schools in total, each offering just one qualifying degree in a subject that may be completely unrelated to the other colleges on the list. How useful is that, really? Unless graduating in one year is the only feature you care about in a master’s degree and you’re willing to major in anything and go to any school to accomplish that goal, those articles won’t help you much.

Featured Programs

Methodology

We thought we’d try a different approach. So we started our research by disregarding specific schools entirely, focusing instead on the types of degrees that are conducive to accelerated study and feature curricula that one could reasonably complete in 12 months or fewer. Over the course of this extensive investigation, we examined nearly two dozen different potential disciplines and narrowed the list down to these ten online master’s degrees: nursing, communications, criminal justice, accounting, logistics & supply chain management, education, sports administration, information technology, social work, and business administration (MBA).

Table of Contents – One-year Online Master’s

10. Online Master of Science in Nursing
9. Online Master’s in Communication
8. Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice
7. Online Masters of Accounting
6. Online Master’s Degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
5. Online Master of Education
4. Online Master’s in Sports Administration
3. Online Master’s Degree in Information Technology
2. Online Master of Social Work
1. Online Master of Business Administration

To assess the worthiness of each contender, we conducted a thorough sweep of all the colleges and universities that offer online master’s degrees in that particular subject. In these assessments, our primary focus was on the average number of credits/courses required to earn said degree, the likelihood that a school would offer an accelerated track in that area, and most importantly, the school explicitly states on their websites that the program is designed to be, and/or can be, completed in one year.

Once we had our list of the ten top online one-year graduate degrees, we had to figure out how to rank them. Our goal was to emphasize accessibility and practicality (i.e. how many one-year degrees are available in that subject, and what portion of online degrees in that subject provide a one-year option?) without neglecting quality. Put another way, in each case we asked ourselves: “What is the likelihood that a student could actually earn this degree in 12 months or fewer?” But we didn’t want to stop there. We also wanted our selection of colleges and universities to indeed offer what we are advertising: valuable, affordable programs that run from A to Z within one calendar year.

But how did we decide which schools to include? Our process varied somewhat by discipline, as it was dependent on the number and variety of eligible programs. In all cases, we considered a factor we call “timeline confidence,” defined as the clarity and assertiveness with which the college promotes a one-year completion guarantee – if they even make that claim explicitly. If applicable, we also limited eligible programs to those that have obtained accreditation in the appropriate area:

Online MBA: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Online MSW: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
Online M.Ed: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
Online MAcc: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)*
Online MSN: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

*Only programs with accredited business and accounting programs

For the other five degree types, either there is no relevant subject-specific accreditation agency or the number of eligible schools was too small to warrant additional filtering. Note that subjects with a small number of online options could still achieve a high ranking if a sufficiently large proportion of the offerings are available in a one-year format. An example of this is the online MSIT (ranked 3rd). Only about a dozen schools nationwide provide a 12-month and/or accelerated option, but that is equivalent to nearly 30% of all participating online colleges.

After making all our cuts and assembling the results, we chose to feature the five most affordable qualifying programs for each subject. In the ranking below, you’ll find a general description of each discipline along with the names of the five cheapest schools (plus links and one-sentence summaries), listed in order from least to most expensive.

We hope you find this article informative. Just think: this time next year, you could have your master’s degree in hand!


10. Online Master of Science in Nursing

For years now, the United States has endured a significant shortage in the number of qualified nurses. Actually, it’s been decades since the healthcare industry had a reliable supply of these indispensable workers. In 2015, The New Yorker finally asked: “Why is the U.S. perpetually short of nurses?” In the in-depth article that served as a response to this titular question, the author cited evidence of nursing shortages spanning as far back as 1965. Then in 2016, The Atlantic ran an article entitled, “The U.S. is on the Verge of Running Out of Nurses,” a headline that drives home the cyclical and indeed persistent nature of this problem. Explanations for the lack of nurses in this country range from retention issues at hospitals to problems of attraction. And indeed, the rigorous training requirements, demanding work schedules, and dissatisfying wages characteristic of the profession do little to persuade young healthcare workers that this is the career for them. All this, and nurses are still notoriously under-appreciated on the job by both patients and employers.

But this is where earning a master’s degree in nursing could seriously pay off. Not only will a graduate-level education free you from many of the deterrents of the profession (i.e. through higher pay and more stable work hours as a manager) but it will also enable you to address the shortcomings of the industry itself. As a manager, you could work to set a new precedent for the treatment of nurses in the workplace. You could tackle administrative issues and streamline technological and communication systems, allowing nurses on the floor to focus on what they do best: patient care. Earning an online MSN could also position you to become a nurse educator, a position that is in dire need of qualified professionals who can train the next generation for long-lasting careers. What’s more, many colleges and universities offer accelerated online master’s degrees in nursing that take just a year or so to complete. Distance learning, flexible start dates, affordable tuition, fast-track pacing – these are all common features of the MSN, and of one-year online graduate programs in particular. For some especially affordable options, try these schools on for size:

University of Arkansas

Online Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator Concentration

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MSN students at the University of Arkansas who enroll specifically in the Nurse Educator concentration can turn their education into a one-year online master’s degree, acquiring skills in health promotion, healthcare policy, and pathophysiology in just a few semesters.
Required Credits: 39-42
Tuition: $13,384/yr

Northern Arizona University

Online Nursing, Generalist – Master of Science

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The Generalist track in NAU’s accelerated online graduate program is designed for BSN graduates and registered nurses who want to augment their knowledge of nursing as a whole, rather than narrow their expertise to a specific topic.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $13,626/yr

University of Alabama – Birmingham

Online MS in Nursing – Case Management

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Nurses who want to improve their career prospects without sacrificing face-time with their patients will love the online, one-year graduate degree out of the University of Alabama Birmingham, which provides specialized training in case management and patient advocacy.
Required Credits: 38-41
Tuition: $18,060/yr

University of Massachusetts-Boston

Online MS in Nursing Gerontology – Management of Aging Services Track

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At UMass Boston, students who are committed to completing their online master’s degree in one year or less will fare best in the program’s Gerontology – Management of Aging Services track, which offers specialized training for nurses who want to work in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or senior centers.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $19,699/yr

Belmont University

Online MSN

Belmont University

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Belmont University’s MSN program is the only option on this one-year master’s degree online ranking – and likely one of just a few such programs in the country – to offer a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) clinical track in an accelerated 12-month format.
Required Credits: 41
Tuition: $19,960/yr


9. Online Master’s in Communication

This degree is a little bit of a “black sheep” on our top online one-year graduate program ranking. Why? Because while advanced degrees in nursing, education, accounting, social work, and just about every other subject in this article are meant to help you advance in a specific career, that is not the case with communications. In fact, the writers at The Muse, an online job finder and career resource, opine that achieving “a specific career goal” or “earn[ing] more and increas[ing] your standard of living” are actually the wrong reasons to pursue an M.A. or M.S. in Communications. So what are the right reasons? According to the same experts, a graduate degree will serve you well if your goals include: learning to write more effectively, augmenting your skills in a particular area, enhancing your research and analysis skills, or honing your message to reach specific (or multiple) audiences.

The versatility of master’s degree in communication befits the eclectic list of reasons a person might choose to apply to such a program. Even from the short list of options we’ve included below, it’s clear that programs come in many different shades, from those that focus exclusively on journalism to those that emphasize negotiation and persuasion strategies for business professionals. And while not all offer the convenience of a one-year online graduate degree, there are several that do. Such as:

National University

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications

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National University addresses the changing landscape of communication media by offering a smart, one-year master’s degree online in Strategic Communication that is crammed full of useful lessons in how to craft effective campaign manages, develop plans for multiple channels and audiences, and conduct research to evaluate campaign impacts.
Required Credits: 30 (or 45 “quarter units”)
Tuition: $10,962/yr

Marist College

Online Masters in Communication: Organizational Communication & Leadership

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At Marist College, students can learn everything they need to know about communication in the workplace – from conflict management and negotiation to persuasion and media relations – by enrolling in this convenient, online master’s degree program.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $13,500/yr

University of South Florida

Online Master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design

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If you’re specifically interested in journalism as a form of communication, the University of South Florida can prepare you to excel in the quickly-evolving field of digital media through its accelerated online graduate program; just three semesters and 10 courses of full-time study (classes include “Web Publishing” and “Multimedia Reporting”) stand between you and your goal.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $15,777/yr

Florida International University

Online MS in Mass Communication: Global Strategic Communications

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This interdisciplinary, broad-based communications program is one of the best online, one-year graduate degrees for students who are motivated to succeed but want to keep their options open, as the curriculum – which provides lessons in Ethics and Social Responsibility, Digital Media Management, and Applied Media Communication Skill – could launch your career in just about any direction you choose.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $17,234/yr

Northeastern University Global Network

Online Master of Science in Technical Communication

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Northeastern University delivers yet another variation on this versatile discipline with its M.S. in Technical Communication, which manages to offer a multitude of interesting electives as well as relevant concentrations (Computer Industry Writing, Usability/User Experience, and Social Media and Online Communities) in a fast-paced, one-year online master’s degree package.
Required Credits: 33-36 (46-48 “quarter hours”)
Tuition: $22,061/yr


8. Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Why earn a master’s degree in criminal justice? While individual reasons may vary, the benefits of adding an M.S. in Criminal Justice to your résumé are similar to that of almost any advanced degree program: leadership and management opportunities, higher salary potential, specialized knowledge, and supplementary qualifications/credentials. There are some jobs, however, that explicitly require applicants to hold a master’s degree. These include criminologists (people who use statistics and demographic information to identify crime patterns and recommend prevention strategies), criminal profilers (investigators who study crime characteristics and use observation and reasoning to understand the motives of a criminal), and forensic psychologists (professionals who work with law enforcement officials in varied capacities, such as by serving as an expert witness or evaluating potential jurors). Of course, a master’s a doctoral degree is also a requirement for anyone who wishes to teach criminology at the collegiate level.

Another reason to attend graduate school for criminology would be if you want to make a career transition into public policy, which would allow you to work as a policy advisor to congressional officials, a legislative staffer, or perhaps even as a specialist in crime-related legislation at a think tank or nonprofit. But whatever your motivation, you likely share at least one goal in common with your classmates: you want to finish your degree as quickly and efficiently as possible. Fortunately, there are many accelerated, online criminal justice graduate programs that practically specialize in convenience and speed. For example, consider the five universities listed below. These one-year graduate degrees offer quality pedagogy at a quick pace. Take a look:

Plymouth State University

Online MS in Criminal Justice Administration

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Fortunately for criminal justice professionals, Plymouth State University has opened up its 5th-year, online master’s program (designed for newly-graduated PSU bachelor’s degree students) to anyone currently employed in the field who wants to condense their studies into a single year.
Required Credits: 33
Tuition: $10,215/yr

Prairie View A&M University

Online Master of Science in Juvenile Justice

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It’s hard to go wrong with this one-year master’s degree in Juvenile Justice online, which offers classes such as “Community Building and Organizing” and “Theories of Delinquency” to prepare students to work effectively with teens and young adults in the criminal justice system.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $10,692/yr

Xavier University

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

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Xavier’s criminal justice program is designed to help working professionals make the transition to middle- and upper-level management positions in the field – a goal full-time students can accomplish in just 12 months, thanks to the convenient one-year, online graduate degree format.
Required Credits: N/A
Tuition: $10,920/yr

Trine University

Online MS Criminal Justice

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If you hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminology, Trine University’s accelerated master’s degree online program will offer you a wealth of curricular resources – including concentration options in Forensic Psychology, Law, and Public Administration – that can open the door to leadership opportunities throughout the industry, from law enforcement agencies to the courthouse.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $11,880/yr

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Online MA in Criminology

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Full-time criminology students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania can easily handle the pace of this one-year online master’s degree, which U.S. News rates as the 8th best online criminal justice program in the nation for its selectivity, faculty credentials, and use of technology, among other factors.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $13,289/yr


7. Online Masters of Accounting

In some fields, earning a master’s degree is an option – a luxury, even. In these industries, professionals may seek an advanced credential to stand out from their peers, but it is unlikely that they feel any sense of urgency to do so. Accounting is not one of these industries. Quite the contrary, in fact. Few serious accountants will be satisfied with a bachelor’s degree, because all of the most desirable professional certifications, including the CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CFE (Certified Financial Examiner), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), and CFP (Certified Financial Planner), require a master’s degree. And the accounting profession has one of the strictest sets of regulations that you’ll find in any academic discipline. To even qualify to sit for one of these certification exams, you will need to accrue at least 150 credit hours of relevant coursework. A bachelor’s degree in accounting can get you 80% of the way, but it will take a graduate-level program to provide that final, 30-credit push to the finish line.

Given the unique circumstances of this degree, it’s no surprise that so many students look for accelerated, online accounting graduate programs. After all, why prolong your career (and your income stream) any longer than you need to do so? Fortunately, there are some truly top-notch colleges and universities that issue one-year master’s degrees in accounting, complete with accredited curricula and affordable tuition. This might sound too good to be true, but we anticipated your skepticism. Here are five online graduate programs that are ready to prove you wrong:

Stetson University

Online Master of Accountancy Degree

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Stetson University’s AACSB-accredited curriculum and top graduate school ranking from U.S. News makes it a smart choice for any student of business or finance – not just people seeking an affordable one-year master’s degree online.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $16,336/yr

Auburn University

Online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Program

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Online students in Auburn University’s one-year online master’s degree will experience the same accredited, prestigious curriculum that traditional learners do, but in a flexible distance education format that consists of five required courses, six electives, and just one campus visit (for a three-day residency in the last semester).
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $19,220/yr

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Online Master of Science in Accounting

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UMass Amherst not only delivers one of the most well respected and relevant master’s degrees in accounting online, it also provides this one-year online graduate degree in a flexible, convenient format that makes it easy to learn from anywhere in the world and graduate in just two semesters.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $22,364/yr

St. John’s University – New York

Online M.S. in Accounting

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St. John’s University doesn’t just offer a one-year accounting master’s degree online; it also offers an accelerated taxation master’s degree that places a greater focus on tax law and corporate regulations, giving you two distinct choices that are equally quick to complete.
Required Credits: 31-33
Tuition: $24,264/yr

University of Connecticut

Online MS in Accounting

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UConn’s unique one-year, online graduate program in accounting offers multiple paths to degree completion, including two- and three-semester tracks that will have you out the door with degree in hand in under 12 months.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $25,689/yr


6. Online Master’s Degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management: once upon a time it was an esoteric subject, poorly understood and little cared about by all but the world’s biggest companies and most specialized executives. But times have changed. After all, it was no misprint when The Wall Street Journal wrote in a 2013 article that Supply Chain Management is “the Hot New MBA.” As globalization takes a firm hold over our economy and technology puts information – and people – at our fingertips, retailers have had to adjust their approach to doing business. The consumer’s demand for products from anywhere and everywhere in the world – and with a quick turnaround time to boot – has only deepened the urgency of this transition. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are now making logistics and supply chain management a central aspect of their organizational structure. This means they need employees who can leverage consumer data; produce economic forecasts; and oversee vast networks of suppliers, buyers, and sellers that spread across the globe.

But before you can take advantage of this burgeoning career field, you’ll need to become an expert in the laws of supply and demand. Luckily, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that supply often follows demand, and colleges and universities have already capitalized on the demand by upping their supply of logistics degree programs. This includes a hefty selection of online, one-year master’s degrees that are sure to fit both your career goals and your budget. But don’t take our word for it. Instead, have a look at these five options, all of which can take you from novice to knowledgeable in 12 months and $20,000 or less:

Fontbonne University

Online MS in Supply Chain Management

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This “industry driven” online supply chain management master’s degree, which offers concentrations in Nonprofit Management, Accounting, and Management and Leadership, is a one-year graduate program that prepares students for SCPro Level One Certification.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $12,546/yr

St. Thomas University

Online M.S. in Trade & Logistics Management

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Utilizing a cohort-based, online master’s degree format, St. Thomas University is able to deliver a highly targeted education in global trade issues, international finance, and organizational behavior to students of its one-year graduate degree Trade & Logistics Management.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $14,076/yr

University of Alabama – Huntsville

Online Master of Science in Supply Chain and Logistics Management

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With start dates in the spring, summer, and fall and an AACSB-accredited curriculum that includes a final practicum (in which you’ll “apply supply chain tools and techniques to real problems”), there’s no excuse not to get started on this one-year online Master’s Degree in Logistics Management.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $15,475/yr

University of Southern Mississippi

Online Master of Science in Logistics, Trade and Transportation

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Offering an interdisciplinary degree that will serve you well in an international economy, the University of Southern Mississippi’s one-year graduate degree online in Logistics, Trade, and Transportation covers all the essentials, from systems analysis and modeling to economic development.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $11,375/yr

Wright State University

Online M.S. in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

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Wright State University blends online lectures (nine required classes), a final capstone project, and on-campus residencies (four in total, two to three days each) to create one of the most effective online one-year master’s degrees in Supply Chain Management on the market.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $17,506/yr


5. Online Master of Education

Featured Programs

Until very recently, statistics had widely indicated that the Master of Education was the most sought-after graduate degree in higher ed. Although reports indicate that the MBA now narrowly surpasses the M.Ed. as the master’s degree en vogue, education students aren’t any worse for wear. Indeed, educator preparation programs continue to experience high demand, especially from women. A 2010 CBS MoneyWatch report revealed that of the 10 most popular master’s degrees for women, seven (Education, Elementary Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Special Education, Counselor Education/School Counseling, and Reading Teacher Education) fell within the realm of teaching. And for men, both Education and Educational Leadership are among the top 10.

So why does the M.Ed. get so much attention? While this advanced credential isn’t required to get a teaching position, a master’s degree on your résumé can go a long way on your job hunt. As Teach.com explains in its blog post The Benefits of a Master’s of Education, “it’s never a bad idea to go to graduate school.” Employers see a teacher with a master’s degree as an expert in his or her subject, and these graduate programs often impart knowledge specifically in how to teach, rather than simply providing additional subject-specific information. Salary potential also tends to increase for individuals with an M.Ed. to their name, while those who pursue a degree in leadership or administration can apply to work as a school principal or at the district level. But the best news? The rising popularity of online master of education programs has swiftly led to increased acceptance among employers. An article on U.S. News explains that as long as the program has the right credentials and the college has a good reputation, mode of delivery means very little. But is it possible to obtain all the benefits we’ve mentioned in a one-year online master’s degree format? The proof is in the pudding:

Cumberland University

Online Master of Arts in Education

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In just 12 months (three semesters), Cumberland University’s affordable online Master’s Degree in Education will make you an expert in curriculum design, school law and public relations, instructional technology, and more.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $5,700/yr

Western Governors University

Online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction

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One of only two universities that appear twice on this top one-year master’s degree online ranking, Western Governors University leverages its trademark “competency-based” curricula to get you from bachelor’s to master’s as quickly as possible – and more than 20% of its online education students (M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction program) complete their degree in a single year.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $6,790/yr

Wilmington University

Online Master of Science in School Leadership

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If you’d rather earn your one-year online graduate degree in a different specialty, consider Wilmington University’s accelerated Master’s Degree in School Leadership, which takes accessibility to a new level through its combination of online, hybrid, summer, and weekend courses.
Required Credits: 33-35
Tuition: $8,042/yr

Anderson University

Online Master of Education

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Certified teachers who want to up their game and improve their pedagogy can look to the online, one-year M.Ed. from Anderson University to offer the research exposure, analytical training, and classroom strategies they need to succeed.
Required Credits: 33
Tuition: $14,190/yr

University of Findlay

Online Master of Arts in Education

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At the University of Findlay, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a personal advisor, take all online classes, and even choose an area of concentration (Educational Administration, Educational Technology, Human Resource Development, and Science Education are available completely online) and still graduate with your education master’s degree in one year.
Required Credits: 33
Tuition: $14,670/yr


4. Online Master’s in Sports Administration

Of all the subjects on this one-year master’s degree online ranking, this is probably the least traditional option. After all, while everyone is familiar with subjects like education and accounting, you might not have even been aware that you can earn a graduate degree in sports administration! But according to GradSchools.com, “sports management has emerged as an extremely popular profession” due to society’s growing interest in health and fitness. In fact, when you consider the popularity of such graduate programs as physical therapy, nutrition and dietetics, kinesiology, and physiology, it becomes clear just how commonplace advanced degrees in health and wellness are.

For students who are thinking of a career in athletic coaching, physical education, athletic department administration, or even sports marketing, an online master’s degree in sports management could be the way to go. And unlike the more broadly-focused MBA or MSIT (more on those below), the Master’s of Sports Administration has a narrow enough focus that completing the program in one year is a fairly common practice. Another perk of these graduate programs? The potential financial payoffs are tremendous. Not only will you graduate with minimal to no student debt (thanks to the serious tuition savings of one-year degrees) but you could find yourself with a seriously handsome salary within a few years of entering the job market. For example, in 2013 USA TODAY reported that athletic directors at major colleges often pull annual salaries of $500,000 or more. And just this year, CNN ran a story on the almost scandalously high salaries that college coaches enjoy. Coaches of the most watched sports – namely basketball and football – can rake in millions of dollars a year, and even those at the helm of less popular sports like lacrosse and swimming can expect to see six figures on their contracts. Of course, none of this matters if you don’t have the credentials to get the job, first. So quit reading, and start applying! Here are some ideas for your inspiration:

Concordia University – Irvine

Online Masters in Coaching and Athletics Administration

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Concordia University in Irvine, California aims to fill “the academic void between programs in educational administration and physical education” by offering a one-year graduate degree online that promotes leadership skills, professional growth, teaching abilities, and ethical management as equally important parts of a successful coaching philosophy.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $7,998/yr

Arkansas State University

Online Master of Science in Sport Administration

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A-State’s accelerated online Master’s Degree in Sport Administration features a rich curriculum with classes in marketing, law, communications, governance, finance, and more – plus a two-term internship.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $8,096/yr

Lasell College

Online Master of Science in Sport Management

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This online one-year graduate program from Lasell College is about as convenient as they come, thanks to NO GRE or GMAT requirements, concentrated 8-week courses, 100% distance programming, and even three optional specializations (Sport Non-profit Management, Sport Hospitality Management, and Sport Leadership).
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $10,870/yr

Western Carolina University

Online Master of Sport Management

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Western Carolina’s flexible, 10-course online Master’s of Sports Management doesn’t require any prerequisites, so you won’t waste any time preparing for exciting classes like Managing Enterprise Projects and Sports and the Global Marketplace – not to mention the 200-hour internship!
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $12,268/yr

Castleton University

Online Master of Science in Athletic Leadership

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Castleton’s one-year online master’s of sports management provides the “specialized and applied training” you’ll need to work as a physical education teacher, coach, athletic director, or in just about any other position of sports leadership.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $12,922/yr


3. Online Master’s Degree in Information Technology

Unlike an MBA or MSW – which you’ll read about next – an online information technology master’s degree isn’t a necessity for individuals who want to enter the world of IT. Students with only a bachelor’s degree in this field can easily land an entry-level job in the industry. So why bother with graduate school, and what’s the significance of an accelerated, one-year online MSIT (Master’s of Science in Information Technology)? The primary reason is that an advanced credential can act as a professional launchpad, boosting students up several rungs on the career ladder and landing them a managerial or supervisory position within their company. In fact, as you’ll see below, many online master’s in IT emphasize leadership as part of their curriculum.

But even if you’re satisfied with your current role, a master’s degree in this field has its benefits. According to the job experts at Career Igniter, graduate school can help students grow personally as well as professionally by giving them the chance to focus on a particular IT specialty, increasing their knowledge about the field in general, and providing valuable intellectual stimulation. In essence, graduate programs that offer concentrations, certificate options, and other specialized training opportunities can make you an attractive choice for both management and highly skilled technical positions. But an advanced education can also improve your ability to communicate with IT professionals, computer scientists, and software engineers working across the field – an invaluable asset in this complex and growing industry. To get started, here are some of the most affordable one-year IT master’s degrees you’ll find anywhere on the internet:

Western Governors University

Online Master of Science in Information Technology Management

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Western Governors University’s “competency-based approach” to learning means that you earn credit just as quickly as you learn, and nearly 1 in 3 students in its online master’s in IT degree program graduate in one year.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $6,790/yr

Campbellsville University

Online Master of Science in IT Management

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Business management techniques and IT strategies come together in this accelerated information technology master’s degree online, which Campbellsville University crams full with classes in Team Management, Information Systems Infrastructure, Current and Emerging Technology, and more.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $8,058/yr

Our Lady of the Lake University

Online Master of Science in Information Systems and Security (MS-ISS)

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Not only is OLLU’s one-year online master’s of information technology a great choice for fast-paced learners, but it also boasts a National Security Agency-certified curriculum and an optional online “Cyber Security Boot Camp” for students without a relevant bachelor’s degree.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $15,840/yr

University of Texas at Austin

Online M.S. in Technology Commercialization (MSTC)

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The University of Texas at Austin offers a unique spin on the traditional one-year MSIT degree through its Technology Commercialization program, which blends technology, innovation, and business principles to give budding entrepreneurs the skills they need to write a business plan, launch their product, and turn a profit in the competitive tech industry.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $15,848/yr

Central Washington University

Online M.S. in Information Technology and Administrative Management (MS-ITAM)

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At Central Washington University, there’s no need to accelerate your online master’s degree in IT; as long as you can attend full-time, you’ll acquire all the training you need in leadership, emerging technologies, and budget planning – PLUS choose a concentration in one of three in-demand areas – in the standard one-year time frame.
Required Credits: 46
Tuition: $16,140/yr


2. Online Master of Social Work

The MSW is a unique degree for several reasons. Unlike a master’s degree in IT, for example, the MSW carries a very narrow focus and specifically prepares students to become licensed social workers. The qualifications required to work in this field vary from state to state, but a master’s degree is almost always among them. For this reason, earning your graduate degree in social work from an accredited institution is extremely important – much more so than if you were applying to just about any other type of program. In this field, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the authority on social work curricula and is responsible for maintaining a directory of accredited programs.

When it comes to one-year online MSW programs, not all schools are created equal. This is because it is only possible to complete your MSW in 12 months if you are able to enroll in an “Advanced Standing” course of study. Not all schools offer an Advanced Standing track, but then again not all students qualify for it, either! By definition, Advanced Standing programs are limited to students who have obtained their bachelor’s of social work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited institution. Because they have already acquired many of the foundational skills relevant to the profession, BSW graduates can skip many of the core courses included in online MSW degrees. As a result, these students only need to complete 10-12 classes (or approximately 30 credits) to earn their stripes as a professional social worker. Fortunately, many schools offer flexible and/or accelerated scheduling that lets Advanced Standing students go from BSW to MSW in a single year. Don’t believe us? Here are five:

Missouri State University – Springfield

Online MSW Advanced Standing Degree

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The online one-year MSW at Missouri State University – Springfield consists of three to four semesters of coursework, providing a convenient schedule in which students can begin their studies during the summer and finish the following spring/summer (depending on how long it takes to complete their practicum requirements).
Required Credits: 34
Tuition: 7,804/yr

Campbellsville University

Online Master of Social Work

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Campbellsville’s convenient, one-at-a-time, eight-week course schedule makes it easy for students to complete all of their hybrid and online MSW course requirements in a very short time.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: 8,058/yr

Saint Leo University

Online Master of Social Work: Advanced Clinical Practice Concentration

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Saint Leo University’s online Master of Social Work comes with a concentration in Advanced Clinical Practice, meaning that Advanced Standing students can blast through their degree and acquire expertise in psychopathology, evidence-based therapeutic practices, and cultural influences – all in about 12 months.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: 8,730/yr

University of Wyoming

Online Master of Social Work Program

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Advanced standing students in the University of Wyoming’s one-year, hybrid Master of Social Work program will kick off their studies with a Research and Analysis class over the summer, then cross the finish line the following spring with a field practicum and capstone assignment (which includes a thesis or evaluation project). Available only to students in Wyoming.
Required Credits: 38-40
Tuition: 9,647/yr

Concord University

Online Master of Social Work

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If you have a BSW from an accredited social work program but don’t quite meet the requirements for Concord’s Advanced Standing online MSW degree, you can opt to take proficiency exams to prove your mastery of foundational subjects – and test out of as many as four classes in the process!
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $10,008/yr


1. Online Master of Business Administration

Featured Programs

The MBA – an abbreviation so ubiquitous that we hardly need to mention what it stands for – is perhaps the most sought after graduate degree in higher education, both on campus and online. In 2014, Fortune magazine noted that for the first time, business had surpassed education as the most popular course of study for master’s degree students. In late 2015, The Economist confirmed that an MBA is “still a must-have,” despite criticism from some camps that the degree has become over-valued. To be sure, the number of experts who support the usefulness of a graduate degree in business continue to far outweigh the naysayers. An article by the job-hunting website Live Career confidently describes the MBA as a “career accelerator across a number of industries” that can help those who wield the credential “command higher salaries.”

There are all sorts of people who pursue a Master’s of Business Administration. Maybe you earned a bachelor’s degree in business or finance, have been working in the field for a few years, and are hoping that an advanced degree will translate to a career boost. Maybe you work in a different industry altogether and have returned to school in an attempt to convince your company that you are ready for a promotion into a managerial position. Maybe you just graduated from college and want to head directly to graduate school in order to put your best foot forward when you finally head out into the job market. Maybe you’re just looking for a career change. Whatever your reason, we guarantee there is an online MBA program out there for you. Even better, we are confident that you can find a one year master of business administration online that is affordable, accredited, and accessible. Take these schools, for example:

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Online Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization

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Louisiana State’s one-year online MBA program focuses on the leadership, communication, and organizational skills that are essential to any successful management strategy.
Required Credits: 30-36
Tuition: $6,859/yr

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Online Master of Business Administration – General

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The one-year Master of Business Administration online at SOSU provides a versatile curriculum – classes range from “Data Analysis for Managers” to “Principle Centered Leadership and Ethics” that can help students get ahead in any industry.
Required Credits: 36
Tuition: $7,302/yr

University of North Alabama

Online MBA

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This self-paced online MBA degree from the University of North Alabama is nationally-ranked and offers 10 concentrations (including Innovative Economic Development, Human Resource Management, and ERP Systems Using SAP) plus an Executive track for career professionals.
Required Credits: 34
Tuition: $9,216/yr

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

Online Business Administration, MBA

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Only eight required courses and two business electives stand between you and an online Master of Business Administration degree from TAMU – Corpus Christi.
Required Credits: 30
Tuition: $9,674/yr

Frostburg State University

Online Master of Business Administration (MBA)

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Applicants to Frostburg State’s MBA program online will have the best chances of finishing their degree in one year if they have a bachelor’s in business administration (and therefore can waive the prerequisite “essentials” courses) and are able to attend full time.
Required Credits: 36-42
Tuition: $10,215/yr

Now that you’ve read all about the best one-year online master’s degrees, all you have to do is pick the one that’s best for you!

Related Resources:

Sources:
College Navigator
Fortune: Why the MBA has become the most popular master’s degree in the U.S.
The Economist: Still a must-have
Live Career: The Master of Business Administration: Is the MBA Worth the Time, Effort, and Cost?
AACSB International
National Association of Social Workers: Choices – Careers in Social Work
Council on Social Work Education
Career Igniter: Do I need a Master’s Degree in Information Technology?
GradSchools.com – Sports Management Graduate Programs
USA TODAY: Major college ADs averaging more than $500,000 in pay
CNN: College coaches make more than players get in scholarships
CBS News: America’s Most Popular Graduate Degrees
Teach.com – The Benefits of a Master’s of Education
US News: What Employers Think of Your Online Master’s in Education
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
The Wall Street Journal: The Hot New M.B.A.
Seattle PI: What Are the Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
U.S. News: Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
About Criminology Careers: Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice or Criminology
The Muse: The Right (and Wrong) Reasons to Get a Master’s in Communications
The New Yorker: Why is the U.S. Perpetually Short of Nurses?
The Atlantic: The U.S. Is Running Out of Nurses
Nurse Journal: 25 Reasons Why To Get a Masters in Nursing
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education