2021 Easiest Online Masters Degrees [Ultimate Guide]

If you’re in pursuit of career advancement or a quick career change, finding the quickest or easiest online masters degree could be a strategic, time-saving tactic.

Easiest Online Masters Degrees

Of course, easy is in the eyes of the beholder, but an online master’s program is generally considered easier if it offers a lower bar for admissions and has fewer math and science hurdles.

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We’ll be discussing some graduate degree pathways that can be considered easier than others as well as highlighting related career prospects and job forecasts.

Easiest Online Masters Degree Programs

Most students consider an easier online graduate degree program to be one that steers clear of high-flying math and science requirements. Unless you find advanced science, math, and technology easy, you likely agree with this assessment.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Here are some criteria that many students consider when searching for the easiest masters degree programs that fit their career interests:

  • Requires less math and science
  • No thesis requirement
  • No internship requirement
  • No GRE or GMAT requirement

Most programs that are considered easier still require you to develop and apply verbal analysis, research, critical thinking, and written communication skills. Easier masters programs can still open doors to meaningful and rewarding careers, including educator, marketing director, business manager, human resources lead, and psychologist.

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Online Master of Business Administration

Online Master of Business Administration

Businesses large and small drive steady demand for leadership and management roles related to finance, human resources, project management, and business development and analytics.

A masters degree in business administration can require some advanced analysis, finance, and math skills, but it can also open doors to a really large and diverse job market.

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There are many different concentrations you might select when comparing MBA programs online. MBA concentrations can help you prepare for well-paid careers in business, accounting, marketing, project management, or even entrepreneurship.

Online Masters in Communications

Online Masters in Communications

The professional communication concepts and practices you learn in a graduate communications program can be applied in both corporate and public sectors.

A communications graduate degree can be useful for reporting, marketing, and even technical writing. Public relations is also a common career field for communications professionals.

A masters in communications program typically covers a range of communication theories and formats. You can learn how to apply communications skills to different business roles, such as labor relations and marketing.

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You might also study how to use communication theory and concepts for success on the job, such as maintaining positive collaborative teams, motivating others, and using positive persuasion.

Advanced study in communications can help you qualify for senior and leadership roles in public relations, human resources, marketing, and nonprofit outreach and development.

Online Masters in Criminal Justice

Online Masters in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice field offers a range of meaningful and essential careers for professionals with the right academic credentials, specialization, and work experience.

These roles can be as varied as police detective, probation officer, or correctional treatment center specialist or manager. Criminal justice professionals might also advance into public service careers in federal agencies or law enforcement.

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You’ll typically learn about criminal justice reform ideas, effective investigative practices, the collection and proper handling of evidence, and relevant laws and practices related to law enforcement procedures. You may also study how criminal courts, probation processes, and correctional systems operate.

Online Masters in Education & Teaching

If you are a teacher, an online master’s degree in education may allow you to earn more doing the same work you do now. A masters in education could also help you advance into roles with more specialization and responsibility, including curriculum specialist, instructional lead, or site principal.

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A masters degree can also act as a stepping stone to a professional doctorate degree in education. An EdD or PhD can help open doors down the road to postsecondary teaching and research positions or senior leadership roles in school district administration.

Online Masters in Educational Leadership

Online Masters in Educational Leadership

Most educational leadership jobs require prior teacher licensing, extended teaching experience, and additional administrative services licensing or certification.

That said, if you’re interested in looking beyond your teaching job and want to help lead the next generation of education reform and innovation, then you may consider getting your masters.

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A masters in educational leadership can offer a pathway to exciting and dynamic jobs for anyone who has a passion for educational design and who’s ready for the challenges of developing effective interpersonal and organizational leadership skills.

In an educational leadership program, you’ll typically learn about school laws and operations as well as how to develop and apply effective executive leadership skills. Professionals with educational leadership skills can help build and lead positive school and district cultures and help employees embrace effective innovations.

Online Masters in Healthcare Administration

Online Masters in Healthcare Administration

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for medical and health services managers will experience explosive 32% job growth over the next ten years.

Healthcare has many intricate and highly-regulated components, so getting a fully accredited masters in healthcare administration online can allow you to receive intensive and up-to-date training. You can learn about healthcare systems, system challenges, and effective management skills and practices.

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You can also learn how to manage and monitor healthcare services and human resources. This can include gauging  the performance of various components of the healthcare network or organization you’re helping to lead.

This field can offer options for a wide range of specializations based on your work experience and individual interests and aptitudes.

Online Masters in Human Resources

Online Masters in Human Resources

Just because human resource systems are increasingly automated doesn’t mean human resource management is any less critical for success. HR professionals are needed for medium- and large-sized enterprises in both the private and public sectors.

Human and social capital can play a critical role in contributing to long-term organizational success. As a result, well-prepared and highly trained human resources managers are likely to have an important role to play in tomorrow’s workforce.

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You may want to consider online masters programs that emphasize more than technical administrative skills. Some human resources masters programs also offer courses on innovative organizational leadership practices. Others teach aspiring HR leaders how they can take advantage of next-generation HR management technologies.

Online Masters in Human Services

Online Masters in Human Services

An online masters degree in human services can prepare you to pursue a range of positions in the human services fields.

Common sectors include community and health services, mental health counseling work and program administration, K-12 or higher-education student services or student counseling work, and nonprofit community services administration.

Some graduates might also work as counselors or therapists, but most pursue this degree to develop a broader set of communication, management, and administration skills. Future job prospects could include managing a larger nonprofit agency or a network of community therapists or health workers.

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In a human services masters program, you can learn about human development, community health, human services funding sources and challenges, and case management and referral networks.

You might choose among concentrations in mental health counseling, treating and preventing substance abuse, case management practices, or human services leadership.

An undergraduate degree in human services or a related field—such as psychology, mental health counseling, community health, social work, or public administration—can be a good foundation for gaining admissions to a masters program in human services.

Online Masters in Liberal Arts

Online Masters in Liberal Arts

If you enjoyed sampling undergraduate courses ranging from history and philosophy to politics and anthropology, you may find getting a masters in liberal arts to be intrinsically rewarding. But what about jobs?

Some liberal arts majors may not have the specialization needed to see a clear career path forward, at least at the outset. That said, a liberal arts master’s degree can be a great preparation for a career in education.

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Teaching, for instance, is a popular career path for graduates with a masters in liberal arts. Along with a degree, the necessary state licensing and any required internship steps would be required as well.

Graduate-level knowledge of this kind can help many students quickly pick up or learn more specialized skills as needed. It can also help you acquire intangible soft skills that might pay dividends over your career lifetime.

Online Masters in Library Science

Online Masters in Library Science

A library science masters program can help you move into a specific career pathway with few math and science requirements. Of course, this pathway does involve lots of information and media research.

Graduates in the field often look for jobs as public librarians, teaching or academic librarians who provide research services, or media specialists.

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Your masters courses can help you develop effective research skills and become familiar with effective research tools and practices. Most librarians work intensively with their own information technology and media cataloguing software tools while on the job.

Some librarians may opt to get a teaching license and apply their information technology skills working as classroom teachers, teaching librarians in school districts. They may also develop their information management and teaching skills to become instructional specialists or coaches.

Online Masters in Management

Online Masters in Management

Getting a masters degree in management can help you acquire advanced knowledge in a range of effective managerial practices.

Management training programs typically include a range of overlapping skills and concepts related to human resources management, financial analyses, project management, operational management, and even public relations and marketing.

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Which skills you learn and how you specialize can vary based on schools, programs, and your own interests. Common management concentrations include financial management, budget or purchasing management, sales or marketing management, logistics, and human resources.

Online Masters in Marketing

Online Masters in Marketing

Skilled marketers can often earn great pay because their efforts can generate revenue increases for their companies or clients. With the explosion of digital commerce and digital content marketing strategies, marketing is a dynamic and quickly evolving field.

Getting a masters degree can be a strategic way to jump aboard this speeding rocket. You can learn about today’s most in-demand marketing strategies and tactics.

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You can also learn how to help business owners plan long-term marketing initiatives across various digital and media channels, including social and entertainment media, the internet, and email. Some marketers enjoy working as independent freelancers or consultants. Others prefer working for larger marketing agencies.

Online Masters in Psychology

If you are interested in working as a medical psychologist, psychology teacher, or psychological counselor, you’ll need a master’s degree and, for certain jobs, a doctoral degree. Most jobs in this field also require specialized licensing administered by state boards and carefully supervised internships that may last a year, 2 years, or more.

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Capable psychologists often earn good pay. Because the profession is highly regulated and requires specialized licensing, finding a good niche in the field could prove quite satisfying and rewarding.

Online Masters in Public Administration

Online Masters in Public Administration

If you know you want to work in administrative roles but have a passion for public service, getting an advanced degree in public administration may be a fitting alternative to the popular MBA pathway.

A public administration masters degree can help equip you for jobs in local government agencies. Professionals in the field also work in nonprofit management and leadership roles. An advanced degree in public administration can give you exposure to a range of public and nonprofit leadership and management skills.

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A program generally covers topics like public and nonprofit law, public and nonprofit administration, public administration budgeting and accounting, public policy analysis and development, and public communications.

Online Masters in Social Work

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for social workers are slated for 13% job growth, which is much higher than the average for all occupations. For many professionals, these kinds of jobs offer meaningful, intrinsic rewards.

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Social workers often do case management and outreach to clients for community services agencies or nonprofits. The duties of a social worker are generally related to counseling and community mental health referrals, educational support services, natural disaster preparedness and response work, job training, or crisis intervention services.

Online Masters in Sports Management

Online Masters in Sports Management

If you love sports and want to combine that love with some practical job skills, then you may want to consider an online masters degree in sports management.

Aside from learning the ins and outs of the sports industry, you can also learn about financial and operational practices, marketing, business development, and public relations skills as they apply to sports management.

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Some professionals in the field work as sports agents and athletic program directors. Graduates may also want to pursue a career managing a sports franchise or helping in the management and administration of sports-related businesses and media outlets.

Careers & Salaries

Masters degrees Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, advanced degrees—such as those in management, education, communications, or social work—can help you enhance your qualifications for a range of important careers.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $141,490
Human Resources Managers $121,220
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,280
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers $98,890
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $98,490
Postsecondary Education Administrators $97,500
High School Teachers $62,870
Librarians and Library Media Specialists $60,820
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $55,690
Social Workers $51,760

Some easy master’s degree options have more career-focused orientations, such as master’s programs in business administration, sports management, marketing, or human resources management.

Typical Grad School Admissions Requirements

Grad School Admissions Requirements

Admissions requirements for online master degree programs will vary by school. You’ll generally need a bachelor’s degree to apply to online graduate programs, but your bachelor’s degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in the same major or field.

Common admissions requirements for online master’s programs can include:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Satisfactory GPA (typically 3.0 or 3.5)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (if required)
  • Letters of recommendation (only some schools require them)
  • Specified prerequisite coursework or work experience

Admissions for some online masters programs, even in non-technical fields, can include specific coursework or work experience. So, when considering which schools to apply to, it’s beneficial to review their specific admissions requirements in advance.

Depending on your undergraduate degree and the masters program you choose, you may have prerequisites to fulfill. With an easier master’s degree option, though, it’s likely that any needed courses won’t involve much advanced math or science.

Accreditation

Masters Degree accreditation

Whatever major you pursue, it’s beneficial to select fully accredited schools and programs. Regional accreditation helps ensure you’re receiving adequate school services and a satisfactory level of academic preparation and training. Accreditation can also be a precondition for some types of financial aid.

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By sticking with accredited programs, you can be more confident your degree will be honored by other schools and prospective employers. Organizations such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) have more information on accredited schools and the accreditation process.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters Degrees financial aid

Covering upfront costs out-of-pocket for a masters degree program isn’t realistic for many students. Fortunately, if you have a financial gap, you can apply for financial aid.

Financial aid can come in many forms, including state and federal education grants, need-based and merit-based scholarships, work study programs, and student loans. Loan terms and other financial aid options can vary, so it’s helpful to review any financial aid packet that’s offered.

If you are already working in the field you’re going to be studying, you might also qualify for employer-based aid. If you’re anticipating applying for need-based aid, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could be a good first step.

How Hard Is a Masters Degree?

getting a graduate degree

When getting a graduate degree, your courses tend to be directly relevant to your learning objectives and professional interests. They’re also likely to be academically challenging and fast-paced.

In some bachelor’s programs, professors may be attentive to students adjusting to college and college-level coursework. In comparison, professors in a masters program typically assume you’re ready for the rigors of intensive college coursework beginning on day one.

It’s also often expected that you’ll be taking initiative in terms of mastering the content that’s covered. Masters programs can also include capstone projects, such as research colloquiums or a master’s thesis, for example.

A graduate program can also offer more rewarding opportunities for collaborative learning and even for professional networking. If you’re searching for an easier or quicker path to earning your masters degree, you may look for a program with less difficult capstone projects or no internship requirements.

Can You Get a Masters Degree Without a Bachelor’s Degree in the Same Subject?

online masters programs

Yes, some online masters programs will accept candidates who hold a bachelors in another field. Core undergraduate programs tend to cover similar core knowledge, and other academic skills and concepts may transfer to your new field of study.

That said, if you switch majors, you may need to take some additional college courses in order to qualify for graduate admissions in your new major. Alternatively, there are online graduate degrees that include bridge programs. Bridge programs are specially designed to help students quickly cover foundational courses upon enrollment.

What Can You Do with a Masters Degree?

Earning a masters degree

Earning a masters degree can be a strategic way to pivot to a new career or advance in your current field.

Those who graduate with a masters in a field like communications or liberal arts might want to advance their current teaching position or apply their developed, versatile skills to a wide variety of fields.

With a graduate degree in healthcare management, business administration, or human resources management, professionals may qualify for management or leadership positions in these fields and increase their job opportunities.

Masters degrees in general can help you further develop and specialize your skills, allowing you to likely qualify for higher pay.

There are also a number of easier masters programs that are applicable in growing fields. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts above average job growth over the next ten years for social workers and medical and health services managers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree?

Get a Masters Degree

A masters degree generally takes 1 to 2 years to complete, depending on the length and format of the program. For instance, selecting a program with no internship and no thesis requirement may help you finish sooner.

How long it takes can also depend on whether you enroll full-time or part-time. Some online programs can help you finish sooner. The quickest masters degree online programs might allow you to finish in under 18 months. They may also require continuous enrollment year-round on an 8 week semester schedule.

Many online programs offer flexible study options as well. If you’re already working in your chosen field, an online program may allow you to keep working while you study.

Is an Online Masters Degree Respected?

Online Masters Degree

An online masters degree from a fully accredited institution is just as respected as a masters degree that’s completed on campus. Generally, employers only want to know if you’ve earned a masters and from what school. They may not even consider whether you earned your degree in person or online.

Does the program you’re interested in have faculty with exceptional credentials in their field? Is it fully accredited? Are the course requirements comparable in scope and rigor to other online masters programs you’ve looked at?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” it’s a good sign that your masters degree will be respected by prospective employers after you graduate.

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If you’re still not sure about some of the programs that you’re interested in, you can reach out to hiring directors and successful professionals in the field you’re planning to work in. You can ask them how they rate the quality of some of the online masters programs you’re considering.

You may even ask them what they suggest you look for in terms of faculty, courses, and concentrations in your field of interest.

Are Online Masters Worth It?

Online Masters

Yes, an online master’s degree is worth it for many students. Earning a master’s degree can help give you an edge when it comes to getting a job or earning higher wages.

A master’s degree can help you develop your critical thinking skills as well as your written and verbal communication skills. Through a graduate program, you can also enhance your ability to research and synthesize new knowledge and other skills specific to your area of study.

In certain fields, graduate level study and sometimes licensing can be required or expected. A master’s degree can also help you qualify for more advanced senior or leadership positions over time.

Universities Offering Easiest Online Masters Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format. In addition, the universities either do not require thesis and GRE or GMAT scores as part of the admission requirements.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University campus

Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Clemson University

Clemson University campus

Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Faulkner University

Faulkner University campus

Faulkner University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology campus

Illinois Institute of Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana State University

Indiana State University campus

Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Marist College

Marist College campus

Marist College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Ohio University

Ohio University campus

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Idaho

University of Idaho campus

The University of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky campus

The University of Kentucky is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Maine

University of Maine campus

University of Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Missouri

University of Missouri campus

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Nebraska

University of Nebraska campus

The University of Nebraska is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of New Orleans

University of New Orleans campus

The University of New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Carolina – Charlotte

University of North Carolina Charlotte campus

UNC Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado campus

The University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma campus

The University of Oklahoma is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of South Alabama

University of South Alabama campus

The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Masters Degree Online

Getting Your Masters Degree Online

There are many accredited, respectable, and useful online graduate degree programs that do not require advanced engineering, math, or science coursework. There are also programs that have fewer admissions requirements, which can allow you to start earning your masters degree sooner.

Online master degree programs in particular can offer quick, convenient, or flexible paths for advancing your expertise in your chosen field. We’ve listed only some of the easier master degrees you can consider. If you’re not sure what your best option is, you may want to take stock of your own aptitudes and interests.

If you’re ready to pursue or advance your chosen career, you can explore the various accredited masters programs available online to discover which ones best fit your individual schedule and professional goals.

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Keith Nickolaus
WRITTEN BY
Keith Nickolaus
Keith has a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California - Berkeley and a B.A. in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A retired educator, Keith lives in Berkeley and researches and writes about trends in education leadership, innovation, and policy.