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How do I get a Master's Degree Online?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2018
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There are lots of ways to get a master's degree online and many different degree programs available to study. These programs should involve one to two years of study with an accredited university, and one recognized in the field in which the student plans to work. For schools in the US, incoming students should look for accreditation from the Council for Higher Education or the US Department of Education. Each country has its own accrediting bodies, and it’s important to make sure these are the most reputable ones available.

Most people applying for a graduate program will have to meet a few prerequisites. Graduate studies tend to mean a person has completed undergraduate studies. Students will usually need a bachelor’s degree and a reasonable grade point average from an accredited university. Some programs require the bachelor’s degree be related to the master's degree online. A master’s degree in business, for instance, might require an undergraduate degree in the same field.

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Graduate programs may be conducted in several different ways. Some may have an attendance component. This means the bulk of the studies for a master's degree online are performed at home or in any location from a computer with an Internet connection. Yet there were also be some time a person must spend on campus. This can matter if a person chooses online studies from a school that has campus far away. It could mean significant travel in order to complete a degree. It may make sense if there is an offline component to choose schools that have a nearby physical location where a student can fulfill his/her attendance requirements.

This matter is valuable to consider because many schools that offer a master's degree online offer more programs that require some attendance. Certain programs are not fully suited to simply studying at home. Students may want more choice or may only be able to find programs in certain areas that combine offline and online studies.

Even with expanded attendance and offline programs, there are still many degrees that can’t be earned online. The bulk of programs offered are things that can be studied and that may not require lab time or demonstration of skills in other than written form. This does mean a wide option of programs exist for those who want to get a master's degree online, but there will certainly be some fields in which the online option is not available.

When students choose an accredited university, they can usually get help financing their degree. This will not be the case if the university is not accredited by official sources. It can take significant investment to obtain a degree online; they usually don’t come cheap. Instead, most people can plan to spend at least $10,000 US Dollars (USD) per year, and many spend quite a bit more. Sometimes people are able to earn a degree in one year, but most programs take at least a year and a half to complete, and may have a thesis requirement or final examination at the end.

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