Home Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education in 2020

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education in 2020

If you’re pursuing a master’s degree, chances are high that you are currently employed. Many learners who want to pursue their master’s in education are interested in remote or distance learning online—precisely because this educational format is geared toward individuals needing flexibility in their degree programs.

When researching an online program or any education school, it’s a good idea to not only confirm its accreditation status but also whether it meets your state’s licensure requirements, if you are aiming for teacher licensure.

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education in 2020

Learn more about how we found and ranked schools.

* Indicates that multiple schools tied for these ranks.

Expand All
1. University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida (UF) is a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)-accredited public university. The school’s distance learning program is committed to providing distance learning students with the same access to high-quality education and elite faculty while enjoying a flexible schedule that fits their lifestyle.

UF provides online learners access to several education-related master’s degree programs in areas such as:

  • Curriculum and Instruction (Specialization in Education Technology)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (Specialization in Teacher Leadership for School Improvement)
  • Educational Leadership
  • Art Education
  • Health Education and Behavior
  • Music Education
  • Program Evaluation in Educational Environments
  • Reading Education
  • Special Education
  • Student Personnel in Higher Education

The programs are highly flexible, allowing students to take as few as one or two courses at a time.

UF’s Special Education Master of Education program uses Teach Well, an online academy for practicing teachers who are pursuing a master’s in special education. The program features six track options, making it easier for working teachers to complete their education by attending classes part-time.

Students wishing to pursue a Master’s in Education through the University of Florida’s distance learning program must meet the same admissions requirements as in-person students, including meeting application requirements for specific programs.

Tuition Rates

Approximately $26,424 to complete the program

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which ensures a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s programs. The popular university offers a wide variety of online courses and programs, including several master’s programs in the education field.

Distance learning students learn from the same professors that teach on-campus courses, which ensures a high-quality education for students who need a more flexible education, including career switchers and working professionals.

Master’s in education degrees available from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign include several niche programs, including:  

These programs give practicing teachers the education and skills they need to continue their teaching careers and better serve a diverse population of students.

Most online courses at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are recorded and posted online, allowing students more flexibility to learn at their own pace. The school doesn’t currently require applicants to take the GRE and offers rolling application deadlines, making it easier for students to apply and pursue their master’s in education.

Tuition Rates

  • Special Education: Learning & Behavior Specialist II: $1,000 per course
  • K-12 Certification in Library and Information Science: $652 per credit (in-state) or $975 per credit (out-of-state)
  • All Others: $490 per credit

Purdue University is a large public research university committed to helping students pursue higher education. Purdue boasts two Nobel Prize winners, cutting edge research facilities, and a diverse student body from more than 135 different countries.

Students looking to pursue an online Master of Science degree can choose from several different programs at Purdue, including education, educational psychology, higher education, and instructional design and technology. They also offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Purdue’s online master’s programs offer a generous credit transfer policy, personalized support for online students, and a virtual classroom designed to allow students to earn their master’s in education while juggling the pressures of home and work. This built-in flexibility makes it possible for students with a busy schedule to pursue their dreams of higher education.

Tuition Rates

  • Standard: $420 per credit hour
  • Military Servicemembers: $320 per credit hour
  • Military Veterans: $361.20 per credit hour
  • Military Spouses: $379 per credit hour

Founded in 1889, Clemson is the highest-ranked national university in South Carolina. The school is also home to a diverse online learning program that helps students pursue their master’s in education – even while living a busy life. Clemson’s award-winning online programs provide students with a competitive, innovative, and accessible education.

If you’re considering pursuing your master’s in education, Clemson University’s online programs offer plenty of programs to choose from, including:  

  • Administration and Supervision: prepares current teachers to become building administrators
  • Literacy: helps current teachers earn endorsements in Literacy Teacher or Literacy Coach or certifications in Literacy Teacher and ESOL
  • Teaching and Learning: current teachers can specialize in Effective and Reflective Teaching, Experiential Learning for Early Childhood, Instructional Coaching, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).
  • Special Education

Clemson no longer requires incoming online graduate students to submit GRE scores. Still, specific programs may require students to be current teachers, submit unofficial transcripts, and have a GPA or 3.0 for their most recent degree.

Clemson’s online programs are asynchronous, allowing students to learn at their own pace and then connect with classmates and teachers for critical deadlines. This flexibility is ideal for current teachers and students with a demanding schedule. Current South Carolina teachers receive a 10% discount on tuition.

Tuition Rates

  • M.Ed. Administration & Supervision: $633 per semester
  • M.Ed. Teaching and Learning: $499 per semester
  • M.Ed. Literacy: $499 per semester
  • M.Ed. Special Education: $499 per semester

As the oldest private research university in California, the University of Southern California has a long history of providing students with a world-class education. In addition to providing in-person education programs at the Los Angeles campus, the school also provides access to several well-regarded online education master’s programs.

At the USC Rossier School of Education, masters students can focus on a wide range of specialties to prepare them for a long future in education, including:

  • Teaching: trains teachers to work in primary (K-7) OR secondary schools; primary lets you study all core subjects, while secondary has a single-subject focus, and both may lead to an education specialist credential
  • Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages: includes courses in both language acquisition and culturally responsive teaching; California teachers may complete an English Language Development Credential in addition to TESOL
  • Learning Design and Technology: prepares students for careers in instructional design, particularly for businesses
  • Enrollment Management and Policy: rather than focusing on instruction, this program teaches learners how to best manage enrollment and recruitment for colleges and private schools
  • School Counseling: trains future school counselors in K-12 academic and guidance counseling

Tuition Rates

To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

The University of Houston is a public research university with a long history of educating teachers. Today, the school boasts more than 45,000 undergraduate and 8,000 graduate students and a robust program of online degrees, including several top master’s in education programs.

Online master’s programs available at UH include:

All programs, except Learning, Design, and Technology, prepare teachers to instruct in their specific subjects, which focuses on diversity and preparing students to become responsible members of society. Learning, Design, and Technology focuses on curriculum development with a focus on the use of technology in instruction.

In addition to fully online programs, UH also provides several hybrid programs for master’s of education degrees. Classes for these courses can be completed by students living near the UH campus without requiring every class to be taken in-person. Courses may use a mix of online, in person, and hybrid teaching options.

Hybrid education master’s programs at UH include:

$432-$448 per credit
To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

Tuition Rates

$871 – $960.92 per credit hour (in-state) or $1,380.00 – $1,469.92 per credit hour (out-of-state)

Since 1855, Michigan State University has provided students with access to award-winning higher education. The public research facility is more affordable than many private universities while still offering students access to a world-class education.

Currently, MSU offers students access to 12 different master’s degrees in education in a wide range of specialties, including:

Students who need the flexibility of online programs but prefer in-person teaching might consider one of the three hybrid programs, which include a mix of online and in-person learning.

All programs provide courses in pedagogy, classroom management, and, when relevant, classes specific to the subject at hand. Applied behavior analysis is a relatively unique online program that helps students leverage data to establish strategies and educational activities for students with autism and other intellectual or neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Tuition Rates

  • Applied Behavior Analysis: $29,175 to complete the program
  • Education: $26,925 to complete the program
  • Educational Technology (hybrid): $26,925 to complete the program
  • Educational Technology (online): $26,925 to complete the program
  • Foreign Language Teaching: $21,00 to complete the program
  • Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education: $26,925 to complete the program
  • K-12 Educational Administration (hybrid): $23,573 to complete the program
  • Program Evaluation: $27,750 to complete the program
  • Special Education Leadership: $26,925 to complete the program
  • Sports Coaching and Leadership: $26,940 to complete the program
  • Teaching and Curriculum: $26,925 to complete the program

To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

Texas A&M is a public research university that is home to more than 69,000 students, including nearly 15,000 graduate and professional students. TAMU’s College of Education and Human Development currently offers more than 30 different graduate programs in education with specialties such as bilingual education, educational technology, and special education.

In addition to a robust in-person education department, Texas A&M also offers students the opportunity to pursue online distance education programs, which they define as programs where at least half of the courses can be completed online. Some in-person courses may be required, depending upon the program you select.  

The master’s in education programs at TAMU prepare students to become leaders in technology and education by studying learning theory, education innovation, and instructional design. Most programs don’t require a GRE score to apply.  

TAMU distance education programs for education master’s include specialties:

Tuition Rates

Learn more about tuition costs using Texas A&M’s tuition calculator

San Diego State University, colloquially known as SDSU, is a public university. Formerly a teacher’s college, today, the school is home to more than 35,000 students in a variety of majors.

SDSU’s College of Education offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including master’s and doctorate degrees. In recent years, the school has expanded its online education master’s programs to allow professionals to pursue higher education in a more flexible online setting.

There are currently two online education master’s programs in:  

The Teacher Leadership program helps current educators gain the skills needed to become mentors for new educators, leaders in their professional learning communities (PLCs), evaluate programs, and run initiatives. Courses include those in school equity, mentoring, and educational research. SDSU’s Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling aims to help rehabilitation professionals use technology to better assess the needs of individuals with disabilities, including K-12 and college students, and discover best practices for their use.

Tuition Rates

  • MA in Teacher Leadership: $17,940 to complete the one-year program
  • MS in Rehabilitation Counseling: $31,440 to complete the three-year program

North Carolina State University is the largest university in the Carolinas. As of 2019, the school was home to more than 10,000 graduate students and 25,000 undergraduate students. The College of Education offers students access to dozens of graduate programs, including a robust list of fully-online options designed to accommodate working students’ schedules.

NC State University distance learning courses work with the schedule challenges that real working adults deal with every day. Online programs also offer reduced tuition rates, making online education more flexible and more affordable.

The university’s College of Education offers a wide selection of graduate education programs – far too many to list in this short review. Some of the online education master’s programs of interest to potential students include:

While counseling programs do require on-campus meetings for internships, the other programs are 100% online. Students can also choose to continue their online education by pursuing an online certification or one of two online doctoral programs in education.

Tuition Rates

$446 per credit hour (in-state) or $1,295 per credit hour (out-of-state). Tuition rates are per credit hour for up to nine hours. Each additional hour is billed incrementally.

California State University-Fullerton is a nationally accredited university with a diverse population of nearly 40,000 students. The school is a US Department of Education-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, with almost 42% of the school’s population made up of Hispanic and Latinx students.

The College of Education at CSUF is the only public university in Orange County that offers NCATE-accredited professional education programs. The college’s online Master in Education is a practice-oriented degree that prepares teachers to tackle the unique problems facing educators and their communities.

CSUF works to create a collaborative, engaging online experience to ensure students get a flexible, practical education they can put to work in the classroom – or where ever their learning takes them.

Concentrations available for education students at California State University-Fullerton include:

  • Counseling in Education
  • Curriculum and Instructional design
  • Organizational Leadership and Management

All three concentrations aim to prepare scholar-practitioners to take on the “big picture” issues that teachers at large are facing in the ever-evolving world of education.

Each program requires 36 credits and takes an average of two years to complete.  

Tuition Rates

$545 per credit hour

Founded in 1821, George Washington University is a private university located in the nation’s capital. Notable alumni of the school include Colin Powell, Alec Baldwin, and Elizabeth Warren. As of 2020, the university is home to more than 26,000 students from more than 130 different countries.

GWU’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, one of the top-ranking online schools in the nation, offers students access to a high-quality education on their terms. Online master’s programs include:  

Tuition Rates

  • Educational Leadership & Administration:$1,050 per credit hour
  • Educational Technology Leadership:$900 per credit hour
  • Secondary Special Education & Transition Services:$900 per credit hour
  • Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners:$900 per credit hour

IU Bloomington is the largest public university in the Indiana University system, with more than 43,000 current students. The school has been home to several Nobel peace prize winners throughout the years.

IU Bloomington offers more than 40 different master’s degrees in an online or hybrid format, including eight educational programs. Online education master’s degrees at IU Bloomington include the following specialties:

Master’s of education programs require between 30 and 36 credits each.

While most of IU’s master’s programs are 100% online, the Adult Education M.S.Ed. is a hybrid program, with 80 to 99% of the course work offered online. Students must also attend a three-day residency course on campus. Other courses in the program include Introduction to Adult Education Theory, Adult Education Planning and Development, and a Capstone Seminar in Adult Education. All programs focus on pedagogy, best practices in their fields, and diversity.

The online master’s programs at IU Bloomington give students the flexibility and freedom to complete their education while juggling their personal and professional lives.

Tuition Rates

  • English and Educational Technology for Learning: $320.00 per credit hour (in-state) or $450.00 per credit hour (out-of-state)
  • All Others: $437.70 per credit hour (in-state) or $525.24 per credit hour (out-of-state)

Above tuition rates don’t include distance course fee

To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

Mercy College is a diverse school located in the New York City area. The private college is small, with just over 10,000 students, including undergraduate, graduate, and distance learning students. The institution offers 40 different online degree programs, including six master’s in the education field.

Online master’s degrees in education at Mercy College include specialties in:

Mercy College offers purely online courses, where all meetings are online; blended online courses, which are hybrid classes with both online and in-person meetings; and web-enhanced courses, where most sessions are in-person but supplemented with an online portal.

For online programs, students may be required to complete student teaching or clinical practice experience in a school environment to meet teaching certification requirements.

Mercy College also offers five-year bachelor’s to master’s programs in several of their fields; however, it would be wise to check with the school to verify that you may complete the master’s portion entirely online.

Tuition Rates

$927.00 per credit

The University of Georgia was founded in 1785, making it one of the country’s oldest public universities. Notable alumni from the University of Georgia include Alton Brown, Ryan Seacrest, and Terrell Davis. The school is home to more than 38,000 students, including 8,500 graduate students.

UGA is a highly respected university and part of a growing number of institutions offering students the ability to learn online alongside some of the brightest minds in the education field.  If you’re considering pursuing a master’s in education, University of Georgia has several online programs to choose from, including:

UGA also offers graduate certificate programs in ESOL and Reading Education.

Online class sizes are limited so that the students can form strong relationships with their professors and each other—it’ll be hard to get lost in the shuffle as a result. All programs involve courses in evaluation and assessment, curriculum development, and research.

Tuition Rates

  • Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition & Development: $24,968 to complete the program
  • Educational Psychology, Gifted & Creative Education: $26,855 to complete the program
  • Learning, Design & Technology, Instructional Design & Development: $26,226 to complete the program
  • Reading Education: $26,226 to complete the program
  • Workforce Education: $26,226 to complete the program
  • Education in Middle Grades Education: $26,226 to complete the program
  • Science Education: $16,053 (in-state) or $40,029 (out-of-state) to complete the program
  • Music Education: $23,145 to complete the program

To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

The University of Dayton is a private Roman Catholic university. Founded in 1840, the school is currently home to a small student population of around 10,000 students.

Despite the small size of the school, the University of Dayton offers educators access to an online master’s in education degrees focused on Educational Leadership with an optional Principal Licensure. This program paves the path for current educators to become licensed school principals. The curriculum includes topics such as school law, community relationships, school finance, leadership in diverse communities, and curriculum instruction.

Educational Leadership is a 30-credit program, while the Principal licensure program requires 42 credits. Both can be completed in as little as two years, depending on the number of classes taken each semester. Students must also complete two 150-hour internships during the program.

Tuition Rates

  • Educational Leadership: $32,700 to complete the program
  • Educational Leadership + Principal Licensure: $45,780 to complete the program

The University of Utah is home to more than 32,000 students as of 2019, including more than 8,000 graduate students. In 2017, the school began offering hundreds of online courses and degrees, including graduate programs in nine different focus areas, including education.

The University of Utah offers just one education master’s in Teaching Fine Arts. The two-year program prepares educators to provide a high-quality education in all sorts of arts, including both performing and visual. Courses focus on building skills such as methods-based arts teaching, curriculum planning, and art teaching theory.

The University of Utah online program combines traditional learning online learning, which allows students to study at their own pace, with an interactive online experience, including group projects, discussion forums, and peer reviews. Online students also have access to the same instructors and academic advising resources as in-person students.

It’s worth noting that the University of Utah’s Master of Arts in Teaching – Fine Arts program is a hybrid degree. This means much of the course work can be completed online; however, students must complete two 12-day summer intensives on campus at the University of Utah’s main campus. The complete program is 30 credits and takes an average of two years.  

Tuition Rates

$1,512.07 per credit hour (in-state) or $4,569.21 per credit hour (out-of-state)

Online students must pay an additional $60 per course to cover the cost of proctored tests and online courses.

Portland State University was originally an educational institution for World War II veterans. Today, the school is home to more than 26,000 graduate and undergraduate students.

Online students at Portland State University have access to more than 20 online graduate programs, including four master’s of education in:

All programs involve coursework in contemporary issues in education and research. The master’s program for Visually Impaired Learners is a unique program designed to fill a critical need for teachers for visually impaired learners. The curriculum includes legal and ethical foundations, Braille I and II, assessment of the visually impaired, methods of teaching academics, and visually impaired learners with additional disabilities. The program is 90% online but requires six to 15 credit hours of in-person student teaching, as well as a three-week in-person orientation. 

Tuition Rates

$356-$663 per credit hour (in-state) or $411-$719 per credit hour (out-of-state)

Auburn University is home to more than 30,000 students, including nearly 6,000 graduate students. The school offers dozens of online master’s programs, including a dozen master’s programs in the education field.

Students who choose Auburn University for their online education master’s can specialize in fields such as:

The department requires students to take classes in theory, research, and assessment for all programs. Many of the programs are available online or in person, though some programs may require in-person courses or student teaching.

One of the more unique programs offered at the University of Auburn is the Agriscience Education program, which prepares students to teach agriculture, animal sciences, and forestry. Courses for this program include methods of teaching, language and literacy, integrating technology, and an in-person clinical residency.

Tuition Rates

$630 per course hour

USF is a public research university that is home to more than 50,000 students, including 10,000 graduate students. The school is known for its innovation and high research activity, which supports more than 4,000 jobs each year.

USF’s online programs empower educators to further their education while juggling the demands of busy work and home life. Students can collaborate with highly-skilled faculty in a fully-online program.

The school offers ten diverse programs for students pursuing a master’s in the education field, including the following specialties:

USF also offers access to ten graduate certificate programs.

While all programs are renowned and prepare their students to become excellent teachers, USF’s Master of Arts (MA) in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disabilities is particularly unique. This is because most online special education programs prepare their students to work with those who have “mild” disabilities, while this one allows teachers to focus on those who have the highest needs. This track helps educators better evaluate students and work cooperatively with their families and other professionals to improve educational opportunities for all children. 

Tuition Rates

$5,214.16 per semester (in-state) or $10,563.04 per semester (out-of-state) for full-time students taking 12 credit hours

The University of South Carolina is a public research university that’s home to more than 52,000 students pursuing degrees both online and in-person.

The school’s education department helps prepare teachers to work with a diverse student population to inspire change. In addition to several in-person degrees, the University of South Carolina also offers six master’s level education degrees and several doctoral degrees through their distance education program.

Students wishing to pursue an online master’s in the education department at the University of South Carolina can choose from the following specialties:

Most programs require some face-to-face requirements, such as orientation, clinical, and internships.  

Tuition Rates

  • Educational Administration: $20,388 (South Carolina certified teachers) or $22,399.00 (all other applicants) to complete the program
  • Teaching: $17,146.00 (South Carolina certified teachers) to complete the program or $18,863.50 (all other applicants) to complete the program
  • Adapted Physical Education: $17,146.00 (South Carolina certified teachers) or $18,863.00 (all other applicants) to complete the program

The University of Pittsburgh is a public university located in the Oakland neighborhood, just three miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The school was founded in 1787 and is home to nearly 10,000 graduate students and 29,000 undergraduate students. 

Online education master’s programs at the University of Pittsburgh are offered through Pitt Online, an award-winning part of the University Center for Teaching and Learning. Those looking to pursue an online master’s in education from the University of Pittsburgh can choose from two specialties in:

The school also offers serval certificate programs through a hybrid program, which requires both online and in-person lessons.

Both programs take approximately two years to complete and require 36 credits. Additionally, if you completed your initial teaching certification through this institution, you may transfer up to 18 course credits to your M.Ed. program, potentially cutting your time in half—though be sure to speak to your advisor to find your specific number of transferrable credits.

Tuition Rates

$947 per credit

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte is a public research facility offering more than 23 doctoral and 64 master’s degree programs. The school is home to a diverse student population of nearly 30,000 students and 1,500 academic staff.

Students who are interested in pursuing their online master’s in the education field can choose from 13 different specialties, which is far more than most other online universities offer. Specialties include:

Most programs can be finished in two years or fewer but must be completed within six years of the start date.

The Distance Education department at UNC Charlotte focuses on delivering the same high-quality education student receive on campus. Some programs require students to log in at a specific time to participate in online discussions or live classroom sessions. 

Tuition Rates

$251.65 per credit hour (in-state) or $910.65 per credit hour (out-of-state). This includes all additional fees

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university founded in 1819. The university has an average annual enrollment of 44,000 students.

UC Online, UC’s distance learning program, helps busy adults expand their career options through high-quality online educational opportunities. Educators looking to attend an online master’s program at UC can choose from a range of specialties, including curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, instructional design and technology, literacy and second language, and special education. Most of these programs allow you to further specialize. For instance, you could focus on gifted students in curriculum and instruction or special education leadership in educational leadership.

The programs are highly flexible, and many can be finished in just one to two years if attending full time. Part-time options are also available.

Tuition Rates

$7,451 per semester (in-state) or $7,601 per semester (out-of-state)

George Mason University is a public research university founded in 1956. The university is the largest four-year university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and offers more than 140 different degrees, including more than 30 online graduate programs.

Students seeking a master’s in education from George Mason can choose from a variety of concentrations, including:

Depending on the program you select, students may take classes entirely online or in a hybrid format that requires some in-person instruction. Both types of programs limit fact-to-face meetings so students can learn at home, while stationed abroad, and while traveling.  The coursework in different areas varies widely, and many have different requirements for enrollment.

Tuition Rates

  • Learning Design & Technology: $805 per credit hour
  • All Others: $707 per credit hour (in-state) or $907 per credit hour (out-of-state)
  • All Others with Educators Discount: $609.20 per credit hour. Current PK-12 teachers in VA may qualify for this discount

To learn more about tuition costs, visit one of the degree pages listed above.

How We Ranked the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Education

There are so many school rankings out there. How you can tell which ranking is the most accurate? Our team at EducationDegree.com didn’t want you to have to choose and wade through them on your own. The insight: combining multiple rankings’ data gives you the wisdom of crowds.

We went through the following steps to come up with the EducationDegree.com ranking:

  1. Searched for and compiled rankings lists from other web publishers’ source rankings, throwing out rankings that were obviously outdated (more than two years old) or low-quality, or had such narrow criteria that they could not be combined with other published rankings.
  2. Ranked the resulting education programs in order of most mentions on source rankings to least mentions, where programs that were mentioned the same number of times were ranked in order of average rank on those source rankings.
  3. Researched each program to ensure that they still meet the criteria for inclusion on a list of baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree-granting programs offering the bulk or all of their learning online.

Our source rankings for this list were BestColleges.com, BestMastersPrograms.org, Guide to Online Schools, Teach.com, and US News. Data compiled from June 2020.