2021 Part Time Masters Programs
Part time masters programs may be a great opportunity for you to achieve your educational goals while balancing financial constraints, family life, or work responsibilities.
Whether you want to attend class online or on campus, there are a variety of part time graduate programs available that may suit your needs.
Part time graduate programs are available in a variety of educational streams, and they may help prepare you for an exciting and rewarding career.
Part-Time Master’s Programs
If you’re interested in earning your part time master degree on campus or online, there are a number of options available to you ranging across different fields of study. A graduate degree may be beneficial in a number of lucrative fields, including business, engineering, healthcare, information technology, and nursing.
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
A Master of Business Administration program may teach you advanced business strategies and practices in a variety of areas. These areas include leadership, finance, human resources management, marketing, and systems management.
A concentration in a specific area—such as healthcare, entrepreneurship, finance, or supply chain management—is generally required as part of your studies.
Depending on your specialization, you may be required to complete courses such as organizational theory, managerial economics, finance management, and operations and supply chain management.
Additional courses may include accounting for managers, ethical decision making in leadership, business plan analysis, or professional selling strategies.
With your completed MBA degree, you may be well suited for a variety of leadership and management positions, depending on your specialty. You may qualify for roles such as chief operating officer, director of human resources, marketing manager, or business operations manager.
Masters in Engineering
A masters in engineering may be earned in a number of different educational areas. You may pursue a graduate degree in aerospace, agriculture, biomedics, mechanics, nuclear, industrial, environmental, civil, electrical, chemical, or computer engineering.
There are broad differences between the various types of engineering degree programs available. For example, aerospace engineering focuses on spacecraft and aircraft development.
Environmental engineering uses principles of civil and chemical engineering to develop solutions to various environmental issues and to enhance the protection of species. Meanwhile, computer engineering marries engineering with computer science to focus on the development of computer systems.
Course offerings will vary greatly depending on the stream of engineering you pursue. Some course examples may include engineering acoustics, topics in mechanical engineering, computer architecture and design, structural engineering, foundation design, and reactor control.
Career options may include engineering positions in the various sectors available for the degree. For instance, you may become a computer, electrical, civil, or industrial engineer.
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Pursuing a Master of Healthcare Administration may help you obtain rewarding leadership and management positions in various healthcare settings. You may work in clinics, hospitals, health centers, retirement and advanced care facilities, and mental health hospitals.
Course curriculum in a healthcare administration master’s degree program may include global health systems, health policy, healthcare finance, health systems management, leadership in healthcare, ethical decision making, and health economics.
Other courses may include patient safety, legal considerations in healthcare, performance improvement in healthcare, management practices, and managerial accounting practices. Career options may include a variety of leadership and management positions, such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, or chief nursing executive.
Other positions may include health services consultant, department manager, clinic manager, or health services manager.
Masters in Information Technology
Earning a master’s in information technology may provide you with advanced knowledge in areas relating to computer systems, application development, networking, and management of IT infrastructure.
Course curriculum in a master’s in information technology program may include human computer interaction, system usability, technology and mobile applications, IT infrastructure, health informatics, and biostatistics.
Other course options may include system administration, system security, IT forensics, cybersecurity, and information technology research methods. With a master’s in IT, you may be qualified for various leadership and management positions, including information technology manager, chief technology officer, or IT director.
Other advanced positions may include computer and information systems manager, senior computer network architect, and senior information security analyst.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
When pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, you may have the opportunity to choose from a variety of concentrations or areas to specialize your education.
Some specializations may include health informatics, neonatal care, adult-gerontology, women’s health, or nurse practitioner care. The courses you’ll need to earn your degree will vary depending on the specific concentration you choose to pursue.
Some courses you may need to take could include foundations of nursing education, principles of leadership in nursing, advanced population health studies, assessment and therapeutic care, and evidence-informed practice.
With part time MS programs in nursing, you may be qualified for leadership roles in healthcare, including chief nursing officer, chief operations officer, or nurse manager. You may also be prepared for advanced clinical positions, including nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time Masters Programs
When you’re deciding whether to enroll in a master’s program on a full-time or part-time basis, there are several important factors to consider.
These factors range from the structure of enrollment to the length of time required to complete a program as well as a number of additional pros and cons.
Whether you choose to enroll in a part-time or full-time master’s degree program, you will be required to complete a specific number of credit hours in order to graduate and obtain your degree.
Generally, most masters programs will require you to complete 30 to 40 credit hours. In addition to the number of credit hours required to complete your master’s degree, you may have the option to choose between online and on-campus attendance structures.
Online attendance may provide greater flexibility and easier access to your education. In some cases, though, on-campus attendance may be preferred if you favor a more structured approach or value in-person interaction.
Depending on the program you choose to enroll in, attending night masters or weekend masters programs may be another option available to you. For online attendance options, course lectures may be available on-demand rather than being predetermined at a specific time on a specific date.
Time to Completion
The number of credit hours required to earn your degree is consistent between both full-time and part-time programs. So, the length of time to finish up part-time studies may ultimately take longer than if you were enrolled full-time.
Traditionally, when attending full-time, a master’s degree may typically take 1 to 2 years to finish. When attending on a part-time basis, your completion time may double, more or less, if you take a 50% course load each semester. This would extend your overall graduate timeline to between 2 and 6 years.
You may shorten your completion time considerably, though, if you enroll in an online program that offers 5 to 8 week classes and attend year-round.
Pros and Cons
|Part-Time Master’s||Full-Time Master’s|
Part-Time Master’s Careers & Salaries
There are a great deal of educational areas for which you can obtain a part time masters degree, including business administration, engineering, healthcare administration, information technology, and nursing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a wide variety of positions are available across these degree types.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Top Executives, Healthcare and Social Assistance||$166,410|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$144,830|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$135,900|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$122,840|
|Human Resources Manager||$116,720|
|Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners||$115,800|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$100,980|
Careers that require a master’s level education are predicted to experience the highest growth rate of all positions over the next several years, with a positive job outlook at 15% (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
This includes positions like computer and information systems manager (10%), economist (14%), computer and information research scientist (15%), and advanced practice registered nurse (45%).
While admission requirements vary from school to school, common criteria may include:
- Bachelor’s degree. Many programs will require that you hold a bachelor’s degree prior to being admitted. In some cases, part time grad school programs may require that your bachelor degree was obtained in a specific educational area.
- GMAT or GRE scores. While this criteria is becoming less common, some schools may still require you to submit GMAT or GRE scores. In some cases they may require your score to meet a minimum threshold as well.
- Letters of recommendation. Some schools may request that you submit letters of reference supporting your interest in attending a part time master degree program.
Other requirements for admission may include the completion of an online application, a statement of purpose, and a copy of your resume or CV.
Regional accreditation is an important consideration when choosing which school and program to attend to obtain your master’s degree.
The accreditation status of a program verifies the overall quality of a school’s educational program and certifies that the program meets a specific set of standards.
The accreditation status of the program you choose to attend may impact your ability to transfer credits down the road, and it may influence your ability to enroll in PhD programs as well.
The status of the program you attend may also impact hiring decisions by potential employers. Employers generally place higher regard on degrees earned from regionally accredited institutions. You can find out if the school you’re interested in attending is accredited via the U.S. Department of Education‘s website.
Financial Aid for Part Time Graduate Students
There are a number of financial aid opportunities you may be eligible for when pursuing a master’s degree. While options may look slightly different for part time enrollment, there are still a variety of options that you may qualify for.
Some financial aid options may include federal and state aid in the form of grants and loans as well as scholarships made available by private organizations and public institutions.
In some cases, employers may also offer funding to staff who choose to pursue advanced graduate level education while continuing to work. You can apply for financial aid opportunities via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
How Many Credits Is Part Time in Graduate School?
In most cases, a part time master’s degree program will require you to complete between 30 to 40 credit hours. The same number of credits are required for part-time and full-time studies, but the timeframe for part-time studies is extended.
Traditional, full-time master degree programs generally take 1 to 2 years to complete, depending on the program and school you choose to attend. By enrolling on a part-time basis, it may take you between 2 to 6 years to complete your degree.
Your program’s term length and frequency of enrollment along with your ability to enroll continuously may impact how long it takes to complete your degree.
Do Part Time Students Get Financial Aid?
Yes, part time students are eligible for financial aid and scholarships. As a part-time master’s degree student, you may qualify for funding from the federal government financial aid program, state aid programs, or scholarships offered by private institutions.
You may also be able to receive funding for your education from your employer as part of a professional development program. Additionally, you may be able to qualify for a federal work-study position to help you pay for your educational fees.
How Many Years Does It Take to Finish a Part Time Masters Program?
Part-time masters programs require you to complete the same number of credits as full-time programs. The program structure that you choose to attend, though, may have a major impact on the number of years it can take you to complete your degree.
Factors you may want to consider include semester length and enrollment or program start dates. Attending classes online may allow you to complete your degree faster than on-campus options. Some online programs offer 5 week or 8 week long classes as opposed to the traditional 15 week schedule.
Additionally, some online programs allow monthly enrollment, so you may be able to take more classes in less time than traditional, on campus programs.
Is a Part Time Masters Worth It?
Yes, a part time master’s degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $105,660 and 5% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a part time master’s degree can help you launch a career in a number of exciting fields.
Common masters degree careers include management positions, top executives, nurse practitioners, computer and information research scientists, and economists.
If you are ready to further your education and career, then you may want to start researching accredited part time masters programs to find the one that best fits your personal schedule and professional interests.