2023 Part Time Graduate School Programs

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If you are interested in continuing your education to advance your career, you may consider enrolling in a part time graduate school program.

Graduate School Programs

Whether you’re interested in advancing your current career or seeking a career move, earning a masters degree can help you work towards higher-paying, rewarding positions.

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Going to graduate school part time may allow you to keep your current job or maintain your existing responsibilities while you earn your masters at your own pace.

Part Time Graduate School Programs

There are many different part time masters and part time doctoral programs available for you to choose from. These may be anything from a part time MBA, a part time PhD, or even part time PsyD programs, the doctor of psychology earned in lieu of a PhD in Psychology.

Whatever your interests are, there may be a graduate program that can help you advance your current career or start a new one.

The following are common masters degrees that can be versatile and lead to high-paying careers:

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

accountant working

For those interested in business, a Master of Business Administration can be a valuable degree to hold.

This degree can have many applications since MBA programs often offer concentrations in a wide range of industries. Concentrations can include accounting, health care, marketing, public administration, homeland security, community development, and many more.

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An MBA may also qualify you for management positions in your current field. Depending on your current field or chosen concentration, you may become a medical and health services manager, an architectural and engineering manager, a marketing manager, a computer and information systems manager, or a financial manager.

Part-time masters programs in business administration may include courses in management marketing, strategy, and finance. After earning an MBA, some students find that continuing on with a part time DBA program is helpful in achieving their career goals.

Master’s in Engineering

Engineers working on site

There are various types of engineering masters degrees you may pursue, depending on your field and interests. Common engineering degrees include civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and software engineering.

Engineering is an in-demand field, so engineering positions also tend to come with a higher starting salary. Having a masters in the field may qualify you for even higher pay, and a graduate degree may also lead to senior or management positions.

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Some of the highest paying positions in this field include architectural and engineering managers, petroleum engineers, computer hardware engineers, and aerospace engineers.

Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

medical and health services managers in meeting

A masters in healthcare administration program teaches both business administration and medical practices.

A healthcare administration graduate degree may qualify you to be a medical and health services manager. While this position only requires a bachelors, a masters is often preferred by employers for this role.

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As a medical and health services manager, you may work in hospitals, government facilities, offices of physicians, nursing and residential care facilities, and outpatient care centers. This healthcare administrative position is projected to grow by 32% through the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Master’s in Information Technology

IT security managers in office

Nearly every industry needs professionals in information technology. Information technology degrees not only deal with how computers work but also cover how they function within a business.

A masters degree in information technology may allow you to receive higher pay, and it may also qualify you to become a computer and information systems manager. There are various types of computer and IS managers, including chief information or technology officers, IT directors, and IT security managers.

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Courses for a part time IT masters program may include principles of cybersecurity, advanced systems administration, IT research methods, and human computer interaction and usability.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

doctor with nurses in hospital

When you obtain your Master of Science in Nursing, you may receive a more in-depth knowledge of the field as well as the ability to apply for higher positions and pay.

For instance, with an MSN, you may qualify to be an advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN. APRNs include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are growing at the extremely high rate of 45%.

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As an APRN, you may work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, offices of physicians or other health practitioners, or even patients’ homes.

Careers & Salaries

Graduate school Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following careers may be obtained with either a degree in business administration, engineering, healthcare administration, IT, or nursing.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150
Architectural and Engineering Managers $149,530
Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830
Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners $117,670
Industrial Production Managers $108,790
Top Executives $107,680
Electronics Engineers $107,540
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,280
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers $98,890
Industrial Engineers $88,950

With a graduate degree, you may be able to obtain a higher starting salary for most of the above careers.

Admissions Requirements

graduate school student studying online

The admission requirements for a graduate program often depend on where you want to enroll. Most graduate programs require:

  • GRE or GMAT scores, if required
  • Transcripts from your undergraduate studies
  • Letters of recommendation

Since admission requirements can vary between schools, you may want to pay close attention to how many grad schools to apply to and to your specific program’s requirements once you know where you want to apply.

Some grad schools do care about GPA, but if your undergraduate degree GPA is discouraging you from applying, keep in mind that some universities have grad schools with low GPA requirements that may be worth looking into.


Graduate school Accreditation

When you’ve begun your search part time masters programs that are right for you, accreditation is an important factor you may want to consider.

A school’s regional accreditation status verifies their legitimacy and high academic quality. A regionally accredited degree may also be beneficial when it comes to finding a job. Employers often respect and recognize the value of a degree from a regionally accredited school.

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If you want to see if a school is accredited, you can check out the school’s website or visit The Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s site for a list of regionally accredited schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Graduate school financial aid

Financial aid is available for not only undergraduate but graduate studies as well, if you qualify. The options for graduate scholarships and financial aid are similar to those in undergrad. You may be eligible for state aid, federal aid, and merit-based or need-based scholarships.

In addition, if you are working while going to school, your employer may be able to help. Some workplaces have a tuition assistance program, especially if you are taking courses that may further your professional growth in your current job.

How Long Does Graduate School Take?

Graduate school students in university

Graduate programs typically take 1 to 2 years to complete if you are a full-time student following a traditional, 16 week semester. If your program has 8 week semesters, you may finish in less time if you stay continuously enrolled year-round.

When attending graduate programs part time, your completion time will often depend on how many classes you can take each semester. Part time graduate programs are convenient, though, in that you can earn your degree according to your own pace and schedule.

Some schools may have a cap on when you need to earn your degree by, so you may want to check with a prospective school’s admissions office before applying.

Can I Attend Graduate School Part-Time?

Graduate School students studying together

Yes, there are a number of graduate programs that allow part time enrollment.

You may work with your admissions office to complete your degree on your own schedule. Whether that means 1 class a semester or 2, you can find out what options you have to allow your academic journey to fit into the rest your life.

Flexibility with your school schedule may allow you to keep other commitments or spread out your classes, letting you take more time to complete your degree.

What Is Considered Part Time in Graduate School?

Graduate School student in library

You are able to take a lighter course load in most graduate programs when you enroll part time. Full time students in a graduate program are enrolled in usually 9 credit hours or more per semester.

You are typically considered a part time student when you take 6 credit hours or less per term. Specific schools may have their own credit requirements for a full-time or part time students. While you may take longer to finish your degree when enrolled part time, you often have more flexibility with your class schedule.

Should I Enroll as a Part-Time or Full-Time Grad Student?

Deciding whether to enroll as a full-time or a part-time student may be a personal choice that depends on your situation and preferences. It all comes down to how many classes you can take or want to take each semester.

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You might consider these questions to help you decide whether full time enrollment or part time as a graduate student is best for you:

  • Do you have other commitments, such as work or family?
  • Do you want to lessen your financial cost per semester?
  • Do you want to finish your degree on your own timeline?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, enrolling as a part time student may be a good fit for you.

How Many Credits Is Part Time in Graduate School?

Graduate School students studying together

In most graduate programs, you are often deemed a part time student if you are taking 6 credit hours or less each term. The standard credits for full time or part time students may also differ depending on the grad school.

Full time students usually take around 9 credit hours, which is about 3 classes. In comparison, part time graduate students generally take 1 or 2 classes per semester.

Can You Work Part Time in Grad School?

One benefit of part-time programs is that they offer flexibility that may allow you to balance your different commitments. An online part-time program may even allow more flexibility with your schedule.

Many students work part-time or full-time in addition to going to school. Others may have families they want to take care of. You may also be interested in the idea of taking your courses at a slower pace in grad school. Whatever the reason, many grad schools offer part time enrollment as an option.

Can You Get Financial Aid for Part Time Graduate School?

Graduate School student searching online

Yes, financial aid is available to part time grad school students who qualify. You may still seek federal and state financial aid as well as merit-based scholarships. Some scholarships require the graduate student to be enrolled full time, but others do not.

Once you have a narrowed down list of the graduate programs you might want to enroll in, calling the school to find out the scholarship options can be very helpful. If you’re working full-time while earning your graduate degree, you may want to check if your job has any type of tuition reimbursement program.

What Is the Difference Between a Full Time vs. Part Time Student?

Graduate School students in university

The differences between a grad school part-time student and full-time student often comes down to time and financial costs.

As a part time student, you wouldn’t take a full course load during the semester. You may take only 1 or 2 classes each term, which may make it easier to balance your schedule and any existing responsibilities.

A full time student, on the other hand, is typically required to take at least 9 credit hours each semester. Full time enrollment generally means taking 3 or 4 classes each term.

With part time students, you’re likely take longer to complete your degree since you’re going at a slower pace. Spreading out your classes, though, means that you’re able to spread out your payments for classes as well.

Getting Your Part Time Masters Degree Online

Masters Degree Online

Obtaining your graduate degree through part time or online programs may give you the flexibility to cater to other commitments in your life. It may also prove beneficial if you prefer to spread out your school payments.

Many schools are now offering part time masters degree online programs, so you may learn according to your own schedule and convenience.

If you’re interested in pursuing a masters degree to further advance your professional goals, then you may want to begin by researching accredited universities to find the grad programs that are the best fit for you.

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Joanna Smykowski
Joanna Smykowski
Joanna has a Juris Doctor degree from the CUNY School of Law and earned her Bachelor's in Communications from St. John's University. Joanna is a licensed New York State attorney and she focuses her research and writing on current trends in higher education.