Top 10 Low Cost Online Master’s Degree Programs 2016

best online masters degrees

This article on low cost online master’s degree programs isn’t your typical college ranking. That’s because we are not, first and foremost, ranking individual schools. Instead, this article will introduce you to the 10 best, most affordable types of master’s degrees that you can earn online. But unless you take into account the average length of different types of programs, it’s difficult to make the claim that it is cheaper to pursue one subject over another.

And yet, we are making that claim! How? By taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and assessing affordability from a broader framework. That is, we realized that cheap online master’s degrees aren’t all about low tuition costs. Getting a great value in an online education really means obtaining an education that will pay off in the long run. From that perspective, all online graduate programs are absolutely not created equal!

The colleges listed with each master’s degree type represent, by our calculations, the five cheapest online options in that category. Note that approximate program costs are just that – approximate – and do not necessarily include miscellaneous fees or related educational expenses. We encourage you to reach out to the school(s) you would like to attend to receive personalized financial information.

While you might expect that the same five online colleges would offer the most affordable programs in each subject, that turns out to be far from the case! Out of 50 total master’s degrees (five for each of the 10 disciplines) there are 46 unique options represented. That means only four schools appear on this ranking twice. It also means – and this is great news for students – that there is no shortage of competition among colleges when it comes to offering high quality, low cost online master’s degrees.

Please see our methodology page for more information about the methodology we used to determine the top 10, low-cost online master’s degree programs.

10. Communication
9. Information Technology
8. Public Administration

 

7. Theology
6. Social Work
5. Healthcare Administration
4. Education

 

3. Nursing
2. Psychology
1. Business

10. Communication

Out of all the subjects represented on this cheap online degree programs ranking, communication is perhaps the least career-oriented. As you’ll see below, there are a variety of forms that a Master’s in Communication can take, and very few are oriented to a single career. This may be part of the reason that it is one of the least popular options represented here (although it is still one of the ten most popular overall). Communications graduate students represent a mere 1% of all master’s degree earners, and the number of schools in the U.S. providing online programs (36) is modest at best.

That being said, there’s a reason this discipline makes it into the top 10. Communication ranks in the middle of the pack on most other metrics; employment growth in the coming decade is just slightly faster average (10%), while salary potential (65% growth from early- to mid-career) is actually one of the highest on this list. And although just 11% of communications master’s degree students currently study online, that number will likely grow in the coming years as writing and editing become increasingly digital affairs.

And when it comes to low-cost online master’s degrees that pay off, it may be important to think strategically. Turning your education into a worthwhile investment will require finding a career with worthwhile opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s latest data set, not all communications jobs are created equal. For your best chance of success, stick to careers with steady growth rates, like technical writing, film and video editing, and translation services. Thinking of becoming a news reporter, sports announcer, or magazine editor? Maybe think again.

Mississippi College

Online MSC in Applied Communication

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The cheapest online master’s degree in communication is available at Mississippi College, where you’ll study topics like persuasion, negotiation, and public relations.
Required Credits: 31
Approximate Program Cost: $16,213

Concordia University Saint Paul

Online M.A. in Strategic Communication

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This strategic communications program covers media strategies, conflict and crisis management, and even corporate responsibility, making it perfect for business professionals who want to be more effective leaders.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $17,100

Spring Arbor University

Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

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SAU’s cheap online master’s degree in communication has no GRE or GMAT requirement, but it does require you to graduate with a comprehensive “ePortfolio” of work to show off in job interviews.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $23,580

Asbury University

Online Master of Arts in Communications: Digital Storytelling

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This unique take on a journalism degree features expertly designed courses that prepare students for the contemporary world of digital and multimedia reporting.
Required Credits: 45
Approximate Program Cost: $25,920

Queens University of Charlotte

Online Master of Arts in Communication

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Queen’s affordable online master’s degree in communication includes a final capstone course that will challenge you to analyze the role of social media, branding, and storytelling in 21st century society.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $28,080


9. Information Technology

There is no shortage of reasons to earn a Master’s in Information Technology. Salaries cover a wide range in this field; early career pay is comfortable, averaging $65k per year, but you could conceivably double that figure by the mid-career mark. Top earners (typically managers) can rake in nearly $120k in the time it takes the Earth to orbit just once around the Sun.

The continued expansion of the technology industry makes it very likely that there will be plenty of positions available in the coming years, too. Average growth in computer science and technology jobs over the next 10 years is projected at somewhere between 12-15%. This already puts IT workers at an advantage, but some “techies,” including web developers and computer systems analysts, can expect far greater growth (27% and 21%, respectively).

As a career category, IT does suffer somewhat when it comes to job meaning; slightly fewer than half of degree holders report that their work makes the world a better place. But a lack of humanitarian spirit doesn’t have to mean a lack of satisfaction in the workplace. Plus, the computer-savvy gurus who make up our country’s IT industry have accomplished great feats to improve communication, convenience, security, transportation, and efficiency all across the globe. In other words, their impact has been anything but small. Are you ready to earn an affordable online Master’s Degree in Information Technology? If so, you’ll be joining a group of approximately 1,400 students who receive their diploma online each year.

Western Governors University

Online Master of Science Information Technology Management

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WGU’s competency-based coursework and low-cost, flat tuition rates make its MSITM one of the cheapest online master’s degrees in information technology that you’ll find anywhere in the country.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $11,400

The College of Saint Scholastica

Online M.A. IT Leadership

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For an affordable online graduate degree that is also fast-paced, try for the IT Leadership program at the College of Saint Scholastica, which offers accelerated, 8-week classes specifically for working adults.
Required Credits: 37
Approximate Program Cost: $18,870

Kennesaw State University

Online Master of Science in Information Technology

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Kennesaw State’s Master of Science in Information Technology isn’t just a cheap online degree program; it’s also a valuable opportunity to enhance your skills in Databases and Networking, IT Security, and more.
Required Credits: 48
Approximate Program Cost: $19,584

Rivier University

Online M.S. in Computer Information Systems

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Earning your low cost online master’s degree is simple thanks to River University’s M.S. in Computer Information Systems, which features convenient 7-week classes and year-round study (six terms per year), simplifying your schedule so you can focus on the complex world of information technology and computer science.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $19,620

Concordia University Wisconsin

Online Master of Science in Information Technology (MS-IT)

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Last but not least, Concordia University in Wisconsin provides a reliable platform to careers in database administration, information analysis, and computer systems research through its affordable online master’s degree in information technology.
Required Credits: 39
Approximate Program Cost: $26,598


8. Public Administration

What does someone with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) actually do? After all, few job titles officially read, “Public Administrator.” And yet, there are nearly 100 schools offering online programs in this subject, and roughly 6% of American graduate students choose this as their field of study. In practice, people with an MPA on their résumés are most likely applying for jobs in an assortment of general management positions as well as with non-profits, government agencies, and independent political organizations. Given their penchant for public service, it makes sense that over 70% of public administration alums give their job high marks for high meaning.

But what are the chances that majoring in public administration – even at a college with the absolute cheapest online master’s degrees you can find – will pay off in the long run? Although earning an advanced degree is always going to cost you money up front, it may be crucial to your success in this industry – more so than others, in fact. That’s because an online master’s degree could qualify you for supervisory and managerial roles in the workplace. Why does that matter? All of the public administration workers who will enjoy job growth in their future (emergency management directors, administrative services managers, social and community service managers) have one thing in common, and it isn’t their do-gooder attitude!

But regardless of the specific profession they choose, all MPA grads can look forward to significant growth in their salaries (64% growth between entry- and mid-career positions) and acceptance of online learners (last year, approximately 40% of MPAs earned their stripes through an affordable online graduate degree program). Either way, it stands to reason that public administration will maintain its popular reputation for many years to come.

Arkansas State University

Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Public Management

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Internship opportunities and a NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration) accredited curriculum make this affordable online graduate degree as challenging as it is cheap.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $9,720

Sul Ross State University

Online Master of Arts in Public Administration

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To really get your money’s worth, you might consider pursing this MPA as a dual degree with an accompanying M.S. in Criminal Justice or Homeland Security.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $14,004

Hamline University

Online Master in Public Administration

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Hamline University proves that a low cost online Master’s Degree in Public Administration can still be high quality, and its experienced faculty include former mayors, judges, and police chiefs.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $17,820

Park University

Online Master of Public Affairs

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Park University’s affordable online MPA degree is nearly 35 years old, and over the years the program has developed into a truly comprehensive experience with concentrations available in Disaster and Emergency Management; Public Management; Nonprofit and Community Service Management; and Business, Government, and Global Society.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $18,180

Southern University and A & M College

Online Masters of Public Administration

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This NASPAA-accredited MPA may not be the absolute cheapest online master’s degree, but its rigorous curriculum – coupled with internship opportunities and even paid assistantships – could make this one of the best financial decisions you’ll ever make.
Required Credits: 54
Approximate Program Cost: $19,116


7. Theology

Despite its stable ranking near the middle of this low cost online master’s degree ranking, theology scores all over the map in our methodology. On the plus side, religious studies majors will never be without purpose in their lives, and 86% report high meaning in their careers. Nor is accessibility a problem for potential theologians, who have nearly 150 affordable online master’s degrees to choose from nationwide. In fact, professors of religion should have no trouble finding online teaching jobs, as nearly 50% of the religious master’s degree-seeking students choose distance over traditional learning.

The rest of the data is not quite as flattering. Total enrollment in theology graduate programs – online or otherwise – accounts for less than 2% of all master’s degrees earned in 2013. Salary potential is moderate (39%) and the employment outlook is just short of stagnation, at 4% over the next decade. Even so, it’s clear that theology deserves to be included as one of the top, most affordable online master’s degree subjects. Most students may not yearn to study religion, but religious students are eager for online learning.

If you look over the list of schools below, you might also notice just how cheap many of these religious studies degrees are. An entire education for just a few thousand dollars – how is that even possible? The long list of online theology degree programs is rife with small, southern colleges and specialized seminaries that cater almost exclusively to one group. There are all-online colleges, master’s degree-only colleges, and colleges linked to a particular church or denomination. Between the small size and rural locations of many of these schools – not to mention external funding – you’ve got a perfect breeding ground for the absolute cheapest online master’s degrees of any subject.

The Baptist College of Florida

Online Master of Arts in Christian Studies

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Even among the cheapest online master’s degrees in theology, The Baptist College of Florida stands out for the value it offers to aspiring pastors, missionaries, church workers, and religious activists.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $6,300

South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary

Online Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Biblical Studies

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This affordable online master’s degree in theology will help you gain a truly intimate understanding of the Bible, with classes like New Testament Literature, Church History, and Wealth and Poverty in the Bible.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $12,420

Apex School of Theology

Online Master of Christian Education (MCE)

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The Apex School of Theology offers a comprehensive, 60-credit Master of Christian Education, that, despite being twice the length of other programs, is still one of the most affordable online graduate degrees in religion available anywhere in the country.
Required Credits: 60
Approximate Program Cost: $14,040

Heritage Christian University

Online Master of Ministry

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HCU’s online Master of Ministry brings new meaning to the word “value” with its thorough, intensive curriculum that combines major and minor areas of study (options include History of Biblical Interpretation and Theology, Ministerial Counseling, Biblical Studies, and Homiletics/Ministerial Care) with elective courses and a required practicum.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $15,624

Kentucky Christian University

Online Master Of Arts in Religion

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Courses like Contemporary Preaching Styles, Christian Education in the Local Congregation, and Old Testament Theology ensure that you’ll get the most out of this cheap online degree program in religious studies.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $21,780


6. Social Work

Social work is one of the more unique programs on this affordable online master’s degrees ranking. Many of these subjects get their appeal from their broad utility in the job market, but the MSW is quite narrow in its career focus. Even at the academic level, strict CSWE accreditation requirements ensure that all approved programs share extremely similar curricula.

And yet, these programs graduate more than 5,000 online MSW students each year, a sum that represents nearly a third of all social work graduate students nationally. Why so popular? Like the Master of Theology, an MSW will practically guarantee you a career of high meaning. But unlike your religion-focused counterparts, your degree will put you in high serious over the next decade, as the BLS predicts a nearly 20% bump in social work/counseling jobs.

Some readers are undoubtedly asking, “What’s the catch?” Well, just don’t expect to be catching fistfuls of money out of the air. The profession’s relatively low salary offers little room to move from its starting point, and even seasoned social workers can expect to boost their earnings by just 30-40%. You may also be looking at the program costs below and wondering how social work qualifies as a cheap online degree by any metric. But as any good therapist knows, it’s all about changing your thinking!

Remember, traditional MSW programs require 60 credits, which means that these schools’ costs-per-credit actually qualify them for the bargain basement. What’s more, advanced standing students who have a BSW from an accredited institution can cut their graduate study time in half. Add in the incredible life satisfaction that comes from committing yourself to a cause, and it’s no wonder that thousands of online MSW students have made this subject such a hit among cheap online degree programs.

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Online Master of Social Work

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LSU’s accredited online MSW includes both thesis and non-thesis options, the latter of which requires students to complete a comprehensive exam and seminar as well as a final portfolio.

Required Credits: 60
Approximate Program Cost: $28,500

Saint Leo University

Online Master of Social Work

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In terms of cost per credit, Saint Leo University actually has the cheapest online master’s degree in social work, at $465 per credit.
Required Credits: 63
Approximate Program Cost: $29,295

Texas State University

Online MSW Program

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To adequately prepare them for successful careers, Texas State requires all online MSW students to develop a broad background in the liberal arts before expanding their studies to include social and economic justice, law, and diversity.
Required Credits: 62
Approximate Program Cost: $30,752

Concord University

Online Master of Social Work

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This low cost online master’s degree in social work is a particularly good choice for BSW grads, who may be able to get credit for prior coursework even if they don’t officially meet the requirements for “Advanced Standing” status.
Required Credits: 60
Approximate Program Cost: $33,120

University of Texas-Arlington

Online Master of Social Work Program

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If you’re looking for a particularly flexible, affordable online graduate degree in social work, the University of Texas can offer part- and full-time scheduling as well as two distinct concentrations: Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Direct Practice with Children and Families.
Required Credits: 61
Approximate Program Cost: $35,868


5. Healthcare Administration

As a degree, healthcare administration may place 5th on this low cost online master’s degree ranking, but as an occupation it’s a no-brainer for many ambitious students. There really are few downsides to pursuing a career in this area. Young professionals can expect to enjoy meaningful jobs with a great outlook for the next several years. Average salary growth from early- to mid-career is a generous 55%, and MHA students represent a robust 6% of all master’s degree earners. There are nearly 100 different U.S. colleges and universities that feature online MHA programs. And if you choose to pursue this degree, you’ll have plenty of company amidst the approximately 9,000 students who make the same decision each year.

In fact, the only real weak spot of health administration is its total online enrollment. Traditional learning is still the clear preference for the majority of MHA seekers, but it’s not for lack of options or opportunities in distance education. To be fair, technical training – especially in the health sciences – requires a level of focus and participation that is much easier to achieve in face-to-face environments. Additionally, requirements for practicums and internships in MHA programs can cause many to wonder if online programs are even worth it.

As technology improves and more schools adapt virtual learning modules, more students will likely see the worth of earning an affordable online graduate degree in health administration. The schools below are early evidence of this prediction; interactive video lectures, dynamic projects, and partnerships with regional health clinics (so as to minimize commute times for students traveling to internships) are already increasing the popularity of this in-demand master’s degree.

Midwestern State University

Online Masters in Health Administration

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If this affordable online master’s degree in health administration still isn’t cheap enough for you, then the 18-credit graduate certificate should be right up your alley.
Required Credits: 45
Approximate Program Cost: $5,580

Louisiana State University-Shreveport

Online Master of Health Administration

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This online MHA degree from Louisiana State University is AACSB-accredited and feature relevant, management-oriented coursework like Healthcare Human Resource Management, Healthcare Strategic Management, and Healthcare Organizational Behavior.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $12,024

Wilmington University

Online Management, Master of Science in Management with a Concentration in Health Care Administration

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Instead of getting an MHA, you could save time and money – while still strengthening your leadership skills – through Wilmington University’s combined management and healthcare program.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $15,984

Park University

Online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

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In addition to being one of the cheapest online master’s degrees on this ranking, Park’s online MHA has also earned recognition from sites like Best Colleges and Affordable Colleges Online for the quality of its healthcare program.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $18,180

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Online Master’s in Health and Human Services

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For something a little different, consider SMU’s flexible online Master’s in Health and Human Services, which lets you customize the level of specialization you get from the program – and even has an option that can lead to licensure as a Long Term Care Administrator in Minnesota.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $21,420


4. Education

From teaching to education leadership, curriculum and instruction to special education, online M.Ed. programs are available at a whopping 280 colleges from coast to coast. And it’s unlikely that any of these schools are short on applicants; nearly 15,000 students – many of them already teachers – pursue online education degrees each year in the hopes of improving their job prospects. In fact, over 50% of M.Ed. graduates last year earned their credentials through a distance learning program.

Some of you are probably already murmuring about the downsides of becoming a teacher. Educators in the U.S. might not rake in the cash like rock stars, but they actually fare better than many. As a teacher, time and experience could bring you a 40% jump in your paycheck – potentially more if you gain a specialized credential or move into a leadership track. Oh, and a cheap online master’s degree can help you with that!

As long as children need an education, the world will need teachers. Future employment growth in this field is steady, albeit not remarkable. But what is remarkable is the percentage of teachers (76%) who report high meaning in their careers – despite the frustration (and occasional futility) of dealing with unruly adolescents!

If you’re not yet convinced that education is one of the top low cost online master’s degrees, turn your attention to the list of colleges that follow. This one the cheapest selection of program offerings in the entire article. Few schools – online or otherwise – can beat a $9k price point, and even the costliest of the five gives you a realistic shot at a debt-free education.

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Master of Arts in Special Education

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Not only can you earn an affordable online graduate degree in education through UTPB, but you can finish the program in just 12 months and without ever stepping foot on campus.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $8,964

Northwestern College

Online Master of Education

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Northwestern College’s versatile online M.Ed. program comes with three strategically designed tracks – Teacher Leadership, Early Childhood, and Master Teacher – to help you acquire raises, promotions, and respect in the workplace with your newly earned degree.
Required Credits: 33
Approximate Program Cost: $10,065

Martin Luther College

Online Master of Science in Education

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Martin Luther College is another great choice for educators who want an affordable online master’s degree that will give them flexibility and opportunity, as this program offers specializations in Specialization, Leadership, Instruction, and Educational Technology.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $10,800

Piedmont International University

Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

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If you’re a current teacher who is interested in learning more about instructional methods and desires a faith-based education, than Piedmont International’s cheap online degree program will help you save money and accomplish your goals at the same time.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $11,160

North American University

Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

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Although not the cheapest online master’s degrees in this ranking, NAU will make your education worthwhile through its STEM-focused teacher training program, which lets you choose from concentrations in Mathematics Education, Science Education, Educational Technology, and even Next Level Education (perfect for principals and administrator in-training).
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $7, 900 (edited tuition  provided by NAU)


3. Nursing

Nursing has long been a favorite of online educators and learners alike. Distance programs are especially popular for the convenience they offer to registered nurses at the start of their careers. But the benefits don’t end there!

Earning an online MSN degree can help maximize your growth opportunities in a field that, frankly, doesn’t have a very high ceiling. For nurses, limited career mobility is often coupled with stagnant wages. While the average salary for RNs is an attractive $67k, you may have a hard time boosting that number significantly unless you earn an advanced credential. Fortunately, more than 150 colleges offer affordable online graduate degrees in nursing. Typical fields of specialization include Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Geriatrics, Administration/Management, and Education.

And a nurse with an MSN degree is a nurse with maximum leverage in salary negotiations. This is because nursing, of all the online graduate programs listed here, has the best employment outlook. At 31% projected growth over the next decade, no other field comes close to the expansion experts expect to see in nursing.

The MSN does well in all other categories of this low cost online master’s degrees ranking, too. An unparalleled 86% of nurses report that their work makes an impact on the world (of course it does!). The promise of a rewarding career with high demand may explain why more than 6% of all master’s students in the U.S. are enrolled in nursing programs. But it’s the widespread availability of cheap online degree programs (see below for examples) that converts so many of these MSN students to distance learners.

Fitchburg State University

Online Master of Science in Nursing – Forensic Nursing

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Thus unique MSN program is not just the cheapest online master’s degree in nursing on the internet; it’s also one of the few to focus on forensics – which can lead to a career as a legal consultant or medical investigator.
Required Credits: 39
Approximate Program Cost: $11,856

Charleston Southern University

Online MSN Nurse Educator Emphasis

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A popular focus of online MSN programs, CSU’s Nurse Educator emphasis will train you to pass on valuable nursing skills to the next generation, as well as enable you to pursue leadership and teaching positions in hospitals.
Required Credits: 34
Approximate Program Cost: $12,920

Western Governors University

Online Master of Science Nursing Leadership and Management

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This competency-based program will impart valuable leadership skills while teaching you about global health trends, business and finance, and team development – plus, you’ll get to set your own pace and learn on your own time.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $13,680

Midwestern State University

Online Graduate Nursing Program (MSN)

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This program consists of three different tracks (Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health, and Nurse Educator) and has a slightly higher credit requirement than the other low cost online master’s degrees because it requires numerous clinical and “evidence-based project” courses to make sure you are well-prepared to handle anything on the job.
Required Credits: 47
Approximate Program Cost: $19,082

Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Online Master of Science in Nursing Program

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A slightly higher cost to attend the Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing will seem like its worth every penny – once you see the wide array of concentrations and associated graduate certificates you can earn with this truly comprehensive online MSN program.
Required Credits: 40
Approximate Program Cost: $25,000


2. Psychology

Not to be confused with social work, psychology is a subject that – at least at the bachelor’s degree level – provides about as much career direction as a degree in communications. And while you’ll find B.A. in Psychology grads in just about every industry, the M.S. in Psychology means something else entirely. But this advanced degree option still provides more flexibility than your average master’s. On the one hand, career-oriented psychology graduate programs offer training for future school counselors, community college instructors, and mental health program directors. But more commonly, students earn their M.S. in Psychology – often with a clinical, experimental, or developmental focus – as a stepping stone to a Ph.D.

Committing the time and focus to earn a Ph.D. in any subject is a tough challenge for many. But finding a low cost online master’s degree to bridge the gap is easy, thanks to the 90+ colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer advanced programs. And there’s no denying that this is a popular route for students; more than 3,000 individuals earned their Master’s in Psychology online in 2013.

This is also one of the few disciplines that manages to perform with equal strength in salary potential, job meaning, and employment outlook. So while three out of four graduates of psychology master’s programs report a sense of purpose and meaning in the workplace, they are no doubt also finding satisfaction in their growing salaries (average 54% increase) and promising employment opportunities (19% growth).

Fort Hays State University

Online Master of Science in School Psychology/Specialist in Education with a major in School Psychology

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Fort Hays State’s cheap online master’s degree in psychology is available almost entirely at a distance – with the exception of two 5-day, on-campus workshops designed to strengthen your knowledge of the subject matter.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $8,190

University of West Alabama

Online MS in Experimental Psychology

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With classes focused on statistics and research methods, developmental psychology, and theories of personality, this top online M.S. in Psychology will (along with a final thesis project) prepare you for some of the finest Ph.D. programs around.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $16,704

Touro University

Online Master of Arts in Psychology

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Touro University might set you back about $10,000 more than the cheapest online master’s degree in this set, but in return you’ll gain access to some invaluable opportunities – including the chance to specialize in Media or Educational Psychology.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $18,000

Union College

Online Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology

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This rigorous online graduate degree in psychology – by far the lengthiest on this ranking – is also the only one that can qualify graduates to work as licensed clinical psychologists.
Required Credits: 48
Approximate Program Cost: $19,200

Liberty University

Online Master of Science in Psychology – Developmental Psychology

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If you’re interested in combining the fascinating subject of developmental psychology with your fundamental belief in Christianity, then Liberty University has the affordable online master’s degree uniquely blended to suit your goals.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $19,440


1. Business

Is it any surprise that business is the most popular choice among students looking for cheap online degree programs? The MBA enjoys a long history atop the leader board of “favorite master’s degrees,” a status owing to its versatility as well as the job prospects it affords. And while earning an MBA is almost always a smart move for business professionals, it’s also an effective career accelerator for people working in healthcare, government, finance, education, technology, and many other sectors. No wonder 1 in 5 graduate students is a business major!

Simply put, there’s just no disputing the popularity, accessibility, and convenience of earning an MBA online. Nearly 400 programs offer distance learning options, which might seem excessive – until you hear that some 40,000 students graduated from these programs last year alone. That number represents over a quarter of the entire MBA-earning population, proving that the industry has welcomed online learning with open arms.

But should online students on the hunt for low cost online master’s degrees embrace the MBA with equal enthusiasm? Absolutely! Professionals with an MBA snag the highest potential salary increases of any degree on this ranking. It’s not uncommon to see a 70% spike in your paycheck by the time you reach the mid-career level – more if you become an executive at a large company. Employees of business hold their own in the other categories as well, with over 60% reporting high meaning in their jobs and the BLS predicting a respectable 12% increase in jobs over a decade.

The financial advantages are clear. Not only could you earn your entire degree for just $10-$15k, but you could pay off the full sum within just one year at the prestigious new job you’ll land after graduation.

Fitchburg State University

Online Master of Business Administration in Management

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Prepare for a double celebration if you attend FSU’s online MBA program, which, in addition to being the cheapest online master’s degree in business, also recently waived all GRE and GMAT admissions requirements.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $9,120

Wayne State College

Online MBA Program

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For one of the very best in both price and quality, turn to Wayne State’s online MBA program, which is IACBE-accredited and employs the same great faculty who teach the on-campus courses.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $9,240

Chadron State College

Online Master of Business Administration

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Classes in Corporate Finance, Marketing Management, and High Performance Leadership – among many others – are adeptly tuned to prepare online MBA students at Chadron State for a long and successful career in business.
Required Credits: 36
Approximate Program Cost: $11,700

New Mexico Highlands University

Online Master of Business Administration

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Though slightly longer than the other affordable online graduate degrees, New Mexico Highland’s MBA includes extra elements – namely a required case study analysis and oral examination – that will test your readiness for the wild world of business.
Required Credits: 37
Approximate Program Cost: $11,840

Delta State University

Online Integrated Master of Business Administration (iMBA)

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With targeted concentrations in Entertainment Industry Studies, Human Resources, Information Systems Management, Healthcare Administration, and General Business, Delta State’s cheap online master’s degree is qualified to prepare you for management jobs in just about any industry.
Required Credits: 30
Approximate Program Cost: $13,590

 

Related Rankings:

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
CBS News
College Navigator
Forbes
Guide to Online Schools
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
PayScale.com
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