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Is an Online Master's Degree Worth It?

Online graduate degrees offer flexibility and affordability.

Typically, online graduate degrees are more flexible than a traditional on-campus program. This factor also can make these master's programs more affordable while still providing access to a career-advancing curriculum. The online format lets you attend a graduate program in a far-away state or even a local institution that is just outside a comfortable commuting distance. By extending your options geographically, you can find the program at an ideal price point for you. For example, certain master's degrees feature a per-credit tuition structure that lets students pay as they progress through their degrees. 

Online graduate programs often have a lower cost altogether, often because campus fees are eliminated, and students avoid the expenses associated with commuting. Online students do not have to relocate, and oftentimes they never visit campus or only come a handful of times for special programming. Avoiding a temporary relocation inherently makes an online master's program more affordable by allowing students to remain in their current location. 

In addition, in-person graduate school can often result in an opportunity cost when students have to pause their careers to attend. Many online master's programs are designed for working adults. With evening classes and a regular commute eliminated, an online program often fits more comfortably into people's lives. This flexibility benefits working adults who would like to continue their careers while in school, as well as parents of young children and people with disabilities.

Concerned about the value of your degree?

While the value of an online education depends on a variety of factors, some common characteristics indicate a master's degree will be "worth it." First, the college or university should be accredited by a reputable source so that you can trust the quality and effectiveness of your online graduate degree. Most schools have accreditation information listed on their website; it may be on the page discussing the program, or it may be an overarching page connected with the university as a whole (like an About Us page). 

As one example, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation for business programs signals a deep commitment to high-quality education. If you are interested in an MBA or other online graduate business program, check if the program is connected to an AACSB- accredited institution. 

If you are interested in a field that requires an accredited master's degree, like healthcare or education, make sure that your specific program is properly accredited to ensure you're eligible to meet certification and licensure requirements following graduation. You should research who administers the accreditation, whether a government or a private organization, as well as the specific state licensure or certification requirements that apply to your desired occupation. 

In addition to accreditation information, you may want to look into the reputation of the college or university when considering if an online master's degree is a worthwhile investment. Explore university rankings related to value or affordability or that are specific to graduate programs.

What is the experience of earning an online degree like?

While affordability can be a compelling reason to earn an online master's degree, you should understand ahead of time what to expect from the program's virtual learning experience, including available resources, any required in-person sessions or fieldwork, and whether coursework is synchronous or asynchronous. 

Look into the following factors:

  • What innovative resources or experiences are available to online students? Check out the support they give to online students, especially related to academics, financial aid, and technical assistance. Whether it's opportunities to connect with brilliant faculty and alumni, brief experiential campus residencies, or other exciting career-building resources, online students can have an amazing, fulfilling experience even if they never set foot on campus. 
  • What are the intended career goals of this master's degree? Is it a professional-centered program with project-based learning and continual time and space to build a skillset? Or is it a more academic program focused on building theoretical frameworks, incorporating research, and possibly writing a thesis? If it is the second type of program, students should also look into the faculty members and their research specialties.
  • What is the specific structure of this online graduate program? How many semesters long is the master's program? Is it provided in a synchronous format or asynchronous format? Synchronous online courses meet at a particular time virtually, while asynchronous coursework can be completed in a more flexible timeframe. Are in-person fieldwork or experiential learning required as part of the mostly online degree? All of these questions are especially important to consider if you will work full-time while completing your master's program. 

By doing a bit of prudent research, you will have a better answer to the question, "Will my online master's degree be worth it?" Online graduate programs offer a more flexible format, unique opportunities to meet your professional goals, and are often a more affordable option for students.

Affordable online master’s programs from Miami University.

Miami University offers students online master's degrees that feature career-building curriculums taught through engaging virtual coursework. Known for their affordability, these master's programs equip you with the skills to pursue in-demand careers. 

Delivering the same level of personalized support, our master's programs are taught by the same faculty who teach at Miami University's Ohio campuses. We welcome all types of graduate-level students, including working professionals, recent graduates, veterans, career changers, and beyond.

Miami Online programs encompass a variety of career-advancing master's degrees, including: 

  • Online MBA and an M.S. in Management 
  • Master's in Esports Management 
  • Master's in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technology 
  • M.S. in Nursing
  • M.A. in Biology or MAT in the Biological Sciences
  • M.Ed. in Special Education or M.Ed. in Educational Technology
  • M.A. in Instructional Design and Technology
  • MFA in Experience Design 
Request information to learn more about Miami Online's affordable graduate programs.

Learn More About Miami’s Online Graduate Programs

From streamlined master's programs that efficiently offer career-advancing knowledge to certificates that make an impact on your skill set, Miami University offers an online graduate program to meet your needs. Learn more about our online graduate degrees and certificates to find out why Miami Online is the right fit for you.

Apply to Miami University

Take the next step toward career success through graduate online courses from Miami University. Submit your online graduate application today.