What Are the Requirements for Completing an Online Masters Program?

Any college degree, particularly a graduate degree such as the master's, requires dedication and hard work to complete the courses and other projects. The online student must also bring self-discipline and time-management skills. Read below for more information pertaining to program-completion requirements.

Completing an Online Master's Degree Program

Graduate schools specify and outline their conditions for program completion and graduation. The steps below are general guidelines; your online master's degree requirements will be similar. Also consider the tasks required of you as an online student.

Important Facts About Online Masters Programs

Degrees Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), others.
Degree Fields Many fields of study including education, business, criminology, liberal arts, fine arts, computer science and others.
Possible Careers Masters degrees are valued in numerous fields from education to health care and technology.
Continuing Education Masters degree holders may go on to earn doctoral degrees.

School's Requirements

While each program sets specific completion requirements for online master's degrees, the general necessities are fairly consistent across schools and subject areas. Reputable, accredited schools tend to expect the following:

  • Most graduate schools confer credit for a class when it is completed with a grade of 3.0 (B) or better.
  • Most schools set a maximum time from admission to completion, usually 5-7 years.
  • A thesis (significant written research paper) or a non-thesis project is usually required.
  • A comprehensive examination or on-campus residency may or may not be among the requirements.
  • Most legitimate online master's degree programs consist of 9-12 courses, awarding 30-39 credit hours for the work.

Required Student Characteristics

Not all students are suited to the visual learning style and self-directed structure of online degree programs. Look at the following personal requirements:

  • Time: Have at least 4-6 hours a week available for schoolwork. Some schools recommend an hour per credit per week.
  • Self-motivation: You need to schedule your time and avoid procrastination. Work steadily at studying and completing assignments.
  • Comfort with writing: Online learning is visual and text-heavy.
  • Comfort with computers: You'll use your computer, e-mail, the Internet and the school's course-management system constantly. You may also need to learn about certain hardware peripherals or special software
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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