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25 Fastest Online Master’s Degree Programs

fastest master's degree
shortest masters degree programs

Are you curious about the quickest way to get an online master’s degree? This ranking focuses on this very topic: The fastest master’s degree online programs.

Many schools are now designing their programs around the concepts of speed and convenience. Part of the reason why traditional education model is losing value is because it takes a large amount of time to complete the programs. Students are not usually saving income or building the real-world experience during this time. It’s no surprise that many students are seeking online education amidst busy work schedules. They don’t have to put their career on hold while they earn their master’s degree. In this article we explore 25 of the fastest online master’s degree programs available.

See Also: 10 Most Popular and Cheap Online Master’s Degree Programs

This ranking of quickest master’s degree online programs was created primarily using data on the speed of the program. We also drew information from the U.S. Department of Education, school websites, and U.S. News & World Report to create a baseline and organize the ranking according to the following criteria:

  • Speed of the Program (1/4): (i) The fastest time in which a program can be completed. (ii) Whether or not the program offers accelerated learning options and/or previous learning or experience credits.
  • Reliability (1/4): Whether the program offered accredited degrees and/or was affiliated with national education foundations.
  • Academic Reputation (1/4): The rank of the school’s parent institution according to other prominent rankings such as U.S. News and World Report
  • Accessibility of the Program (1/4): How easily the program can be applied towards, i.e. whether or not a specific undergraduate major was required as a prerequisite

See Also: Best Online MBA Economics Programs

Time for Program Completion: 12 months

#1. Ball State University

Online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology

Ball State University offers a master of arts in educational psychology that can be completed completely online in just 12 months if students undertake the full course-load. Despite its fast completion time, this online master’s program covers a research-based curriculum. This allows students to develop specializations according to self-selected project assignments and coursework options. The same faculty who teach the on-campus versions of the classes teach the online versions. Students can expect the same quality as that of face-to-face learning. This master’s is 100% online.

See Also: Top 50 Highest Paying Masters Degrees

#2. California Baptist University

Online Master of Science in Accounting

California Baptist University is a nationally ranked school and major proponent of online education. As such the master of science in accounting adheres to strong values of student-oriented flexibility and guidance. Students have 24/7 access to coursework. They can progress when and how they want. They also are assigned personal advisers to help assist and guide during the program. Through the online format, the degree can be earned in as little as one year. The University’s all-Christian faculty is highly committed to helping its students make the most of their time during such accelerated programs.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Science in Education: Early Childhood Studies

#3. Capella University

Online Master of Business Administration

Unlike the other accelerated learning options at Capella, the MBA program is designed to be completed in one year by all students. This implies a level of consistency and organization that might appear to be lacking in other accelerated learning programs. The program also has impressive career outcome statistics. MBA graduates earn an average of $28,000 more per year than those who only hold a bachelor’s in business administration. Capella has attractive online learning technologies. The student outcome statistics and “fast track” option make it an excellent option for those pursuing an MBA.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Healthcare Administration in Healthcare Leadership

#4. University of North Texas

Online Master of Business Administration

The University of North Texas also offers an accelerated learning options for its fully online MBA program. The program’s curriculum meets the standards of:

  • the American Society for Quality
  • Association of University Programs in Health Administration
  • HR Certification Institute
  • Institute for Supply Management
  • the Society for Human Resource Management

The program’s physical location is in one of Texas’ most dynamic and economically growing areas. Thus the program also emphasizes drawing upon real world connections to enrich coursework and project assignments.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership

#5. Walden University

Online Master of Science in Education

Walden University

Walden University offers a fully online graduate program in education with an accelerated learning option. Students can earn their degree in just 12 months with as little as $10,000 in expenses. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). It is compacted into a short and affordable program. The career-outcome and student satisfaction surveys display highly impressive results. Over 96% of surveyed employers said they would employ another graduate from the MS in education program.

#6 National University

Online MBA

With year-round enrollment and 4 week courses, it is easy to get started at National University. There are six specializations with this class-based program.

There is also a 1-on-1 Personalized Education that also has flexible 8-week online classes. This one offers 13 specializations.

If you have all the foundational courses, this MBA takes just one year. It’s ideal for those who are working and want to complete an MBA program.

Time for Program Completion: 14 months

#7. Trine University

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Often it is the case that programs are able to offer accelerated track options by narrowing the program’s focus. Doing this decreases the required coursework. Trine University is a repeatedly nationally ranked school and is one of the exceptions to this trend. The University’s master of science in criminal justice can be completed in just 14 months. But beyond that the program still offers its students three specialization options in:

  • forensic psychology
  • law
  • public administration

The program is likely able to achieve this by asking for a higher level of dedication and performance from its students. Its admission requirements are stricter than others on this list.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Science in Engineering Management

Time for Program Completion: 15 months

#8. Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master of Science in Accounting

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers an accelerated learning option for earning an MS in accounting. Despite the fast-paced curriculum, the program meets the 150-credit-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam adopted by most states. And it still allows the flexible learning schedule of taking just two courses per 10-week term. Many comparable accelerated programs require a third per learning period. This program seems to strike a balance between student comfort and high-efficiency learning.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Business Administration in Economics

Online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management

Online Master of Business Administration in Project Management

Online Master of Science in Psychology

Online Master of Business Administration in Sports Management

#9. University of North Texas

Online Master of Science in Educational Psychology

The University of North Texas offers an accelerated learning track. Students can earn their MS in educational psychology in just 15 months if they are willing to take on a full course-load. Comparable programs can last up to four times as long. This means that students who graduate from this program in 15 months will have saved years and thousands of dollars. The program is able to manage this by narrowing the focus of the program to that of educating gifted and talented students. Upon completion, students will receive an accredited certificate validating this specialization.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Science in Special Education

Time for Program Completion: 16 months

#10. University of Miami

Online Master of Science in Finance

University of Miami

The University of Miami is a nationally ranked institution. It offers an accelerated track option in the master of science in finance degree. Many of the programs on this list require special effort or experience to “take the fast track.” This program is designed to be completed by all students in just 16 months. The program is able to achieve this level of accelerated learning by narrowing its focus to centralized coursework. Courses are both practical and applicable to the real-world demands of the finance industry.

Though it lasts less than a year and a half, the program is designed to turn students into successful professionals of:

  • corporate finance
  • international finance and investments
  • other financial sectors

The same faculty who teach the on-campus version of the class teach the online version, so the faculty can master the strategies of the accelerated learning program.

Time for Program Completion: 18 months

#11. Benedictine University

Online Master of Business Administration

Benedictine University is a nationally ranked school: U.S. News & World Report found it to be one of the nation’s best master’s universities. found the MBA program specifically to be one of the best in the US. While delivering nationally recognized results, the MBA program also maintains a high-level of convenience in its fully online format and flexible coursework schedules. It can be completed in just 18 months. The program also boasts highly impressive student survey results. Over 94% of students reported that the program had adequately prepared them for their careers.

#12. Boston University

Online Master of Arts in Art Education

Boston University

Boston University specializes in bringing the study of art and music education to the arena of fast-paced online education. BU offers a fully online graduate art education program. It employs all of the university’s resources to create a quality distance learning option. Through virtual studios, students can interact with art instructors just as they would in the physical classroom. It includes real-time feedback and discussion formats.

You may also be interested in:

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

This concludes our ranking of quick online master’s programs.

We should also note that there are pros and cons to fast-paced and accelerated online programs such as the ones listed below.

  • Pros: The program can be completed in a much smaller amount of time. It’s convenient both in terms of financial requirements and scheduling requirements
  • Fast-paced programs are often highly-focused on the most relevant material, which eliminates the potential for “busy-work.”
  • Cons: In order to finish the coursework more quickly, students are usually required to take on more of a burden, both in dedication and effort.
  • Extreme learning in short periods of time might lead to less retention of what was learned, but this is largely reliant on the methods of education and personal characteristics.

See Also: Best Online History Master’s Degree Programs

Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor