The Quickest Online Master’s Degrees


A master’s degree is a credential that almost always translates to a pay bump and better employment opportunities. It’s also a quick way to switch careers if you’re looking for something completely different from your previous employment. On top of that, with the current trend in professional careers, a master’s degree is required for many entry-level positions. For example, many accounting firms will not even consider candidates unless they are CPA-ready (150 credits, so basically an undergraduate + graduate degree).

Thanks to the increasingly fast-paced world, many graduating students and the currently employed are considering whether a master’s degree will help them have leverage on their careers. Because the marketplace can be increasingly competitive, we here at EdSmart have put together a list of some of the easiest master’s degrees online that can be finished in as little as one year.

6-18 Month Online Master Degree Programs

If a six-month online master’s degree program sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Master’s degrees tend to require at least one year of study. However, there are ways to “game the system” through a combination of specific course enrollments and prior learning credits.

At the bare minimum, master’s degree programs are 30 credit programs. It is up to you and your school whether those 30 credits are earned through semester blocks, eight-week classes, or self-paced learning. The point is, there is a time factor to consider.

We should note here that if you are determined to find a six-month program, a Google search for six-month master’s degree programs will bring up lists of international schools that offer highly accelerated programs. At this point, we have to warn you that not all these programs are accredited by the same academic bodies that govern schools in North America. If you choose to consider one of these international programs, be sure to note the accreditation and whether North American organizations recognize degrees from these foreign schools.

You can check any school’s accreditation status by searching the institution’s name on the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s website here. When you get to the site, scroll down a bit to see the search menu. If the school is not on the accredited list, future employers will not recognize its degrees as valid, so move on to another online college option.

Above all, don’t shortchange your education for a “piece of paper.” Earning a master’s degree is about learning new skills that will help you in your career. If you accelerate too quickly, you may not retain the knowledge you learn.

6-Month Master’s Degree Online

Capella University

Capella University is a pioneer in online and self-paced learning. This learn at your own pace school of thought allows students to set their own deadlines and move through the material faster than traditional programs, making this an ideal choice for students looking to finish their master’s degrees faster. Typically, a master’s program at Capella can take up to 18 months to finish. However, through Capella’s Prior Learning Assessment, students can earn credit for previous academic or professional experience. What this means is students who enroll in the maximum number of classes and earning the maximum credit for previous experience can finish a program in as little as six months.  Capella University offers various MBA specialization degrees as well as MS in Psychology as degrees that can be finished quickly, though the school is always willing to work with student needs.

10-Month Master’s Degree Online

University of Miami

A private university in the Miami area, the University of Miami is home to more than 16,000 students from all around the world. In addition to being a nationally ranked school, this institution offers accelerated programs in fields like finance and accounting. This “fast track” is composed of highly specialized coursework that only focuses on what the school feels are the most practical and applicable programs for students to succeed in the workplace. Additionally, some of the programs (like accounting) require students to already be undergraduate students in order to enroll in the accelerated program.

Gardner-Webb University

Located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University is a Christian University that was originally founded as a high school in 1905. Since then it has grown to be a school that always reaches out to serve the community. The Gardner-Webb MBA 10-month MBA is created specifically to meet the needs of a busy, active professional. As a fully online program, it can be completed in less than a year and helps students develop better managerial skills that have real-world applications.

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Louisiana State University – Shreveport is a branch school of the Louisiana State University system. Located in the northwestern part of the state, this school has grown a lot since its humble beginnings in 1967. Today the school offers more than 25 undergraduate degree programs and 13 graduate degree programs, including a 30-credit online MBA that students can finish in as little as 10 months. This competitive program features classes in subjects such as international experience, labor and employment law, hospitality and casino management, managerial use of accounting data, economic analysis for managers, and more.

Further Reading: Cheapest Online Colleges

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands is a growing school of around 7000 students that features more than two dozen accelerated master’s degree programs. With a 17:1 student to faculty ratio, both online and traditional students are able to get the attention they need to succeed in their coursework. University of Cumberland’s master’s degree programs includes a variety of subjects like business, education, information technology, psychology, criminal justice, project management, teaching, digital forensics, Christian studies, and more. These courses are built around eight-week blocks which allows students to earn their degrees in as little as ten months.

University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley is located in one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States at the southern tip of the state. Currently poised to be the second-largest Hispanic-serving school in the nation, UTGRV emphasizes cultural education so that graduates are able to understand different perspectives, languages, and values of people of different backgrounds. UTRGV features a large number of accelerated degrees for students that are looking to speed up their education. Some of the stand-out programs from this school are the online Master of Education degrees that can be finished in 10 months. Courses in these programs are built around seven-week blocks for maximum efficiency.

1-Year Master’s Programs Online

The majority of fast-paced master’s degree programs are around the one-year mark. A lot of the pace is dependent on the classes a student has previously taken, and whether or not the school translates employment experience into academic credits.  One-year master’s programs are fairly common to most schools, and most schools these days feature a one-year online MBA program. Here are some standouts in our searches.

Auburn University

Home to more than 30,000 students, Auburn University is a prominent part of Alabama society.  As one of the largest universities in the South, Auburn is one of the leaders in education with its blend of arts and applied science that ensures that students get the skills they need to succeed when they graduate. One of the fastest master’s degree programs is the online Master of Accountancy program. As a 30 credit program, students can complete the degree in one year and become CPA eligible at the completion of the program. Though students pay the same tuition regardless of their online or traditional status, all online students must complete a three-day on-campus orientation.

Benedictine University Online

Benedictine University is a Catholic university founded in 1887. As is such, the school holds itself to high academic and religious ideals, guiding traditional and online students to live moral and ethical lives. Located on the west side of Chicago, the school is a cherished part of the community. One of the accelerated degrees the school offers is the Master of Business Administration.  Benedictine University’s online MBA program is designed to help business professionals move up into high-level leadership roles and lead organizations through the challenges of the 21st century. With a flexible coursework schedule, students can quickly finish their education and rest assured that they are prepared for their careers.

Fontbonne University

Fontbonne University is a co-ed Catholic University located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Home to more than 3000 students, the school believes strongly in its online programs. This is due to the level of support students receive even while enrolled in a distance learning program. Fontbonne University offers an online master’s degree in supply change management that can be completed in one year. Classes are taken in accelerated eight-week blocks so that students can quickly earn their education.  This program was specially designed through collaboration with experts in the St. Louis area and prepares students for the Council of Supply Chain Management SCPro Level One certification.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University is built on a tradition of engaging with the world around it. Founded in 1898 in Boston, Massachusetts, NU is considered one of the best schools in the region. Northeastern offers a number of accelerated programs as well as dual degree programs that can be completed one year or one and a half years. Among some of the programs, Northeastern offers are Master of Science degrees in fields like applied nutrition, commerce and economic development, accounting, corporate and organizational communication, eLearning, business administration, project management, global studies and international relations, informatics,  and more.

Texas A&M

Located in College Station, Texas, Texas A&M opened its doors in 1876 as the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Today this school has grown into one of the most prominent schools in the state as well as a research-intensive school dedicated to pushing the boundaries of human thought. Texas A&M offers a wide variety of online master’s degree programs that can be completed in a year. Among them is the MBA program from the school’s elite MBA program. This program enables students to work in teams to collaborate on problem solving-situations, analyze business data, and resolve ethical issues in a socially responsible manner.  For students to finish in one year, they will have to have previous enrollment as a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Trine University

Trine University, formerly known as Tri-State University, is located in Angola, Indiana, and has served the region for more than 130 years. Home to over 5000 students, the school benefits from a low student to faculty ratio, and a fabulous employment rate for graduating students.  Trine University offers a number of accelerated programs that can be finished within a year. Some of the stand out programs at the school are the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program and the Master of Science in Engineering programs. These programs are highly focused, and feature curriculums that draw from high-level instructors across various disciplines. Students are able to take advantage of open-ended course formats to cover ground quickly.

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas is located in Denton, Texas and is home to a community of dreamers and doers. These talented students and alumni work together to shape the world around them. As one of the largest schools in the country, it offers 105 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 37 doctoral degree programs. Some of the stand out online master’s degrees designed for students looking to finish quickly are the Master of Education and the Master of Business Administration degrees. With a self-paced format and combined with online classes, students can still expect one on one time with instructors to make sure that they are understanding the material.

University of Southern Mississippi

Founded in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi is often known as Southern Miss. More than 14,500 students call this school home. Today, the school is a comprehensive school that offers degrees from the bachelor to doctoral levels including a number of master’s degrees that can be completed in a year. One of these degrees is the online master of science in logistics, trade and transportation. This 30 credit online program can be completed in a year by taking 12 credits in the fall and spring semesters and six credits in the summer. Students in this program can elect to take an internship in the nearby Gulf Coast region or at a number of approved locations around the country.




How long does it take to get a masters degree?

EDsmart has found that a master’s degree can be earned in 6 – 18 months.

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