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Online Master’s Degree Programs in Iowa

The convenience and flexibility afforded by online learning gives Iowa residents who hold a bachelor’s degree the freedom to choose from among various types of online master’s programs offered by schools throughout Iowa. There are also numerous out-of-state colleges and universities that offer online master’s programs in many fields and that accept applicants who live in Iowa. These programs provide students with a range of options for earning a master’s degree without the potential inconvenience and added expense of relocating and/or commuting to a college campus.

This page provides a detailed overview of online programs offered by Iowa schools in many of the most common fields and disciplines studied at the master’s level in Iowa, including accounting, business administration, computer science, education, healthcare, nursing, psychology, and social work. The sections below also provide information on master’s programs in these fields offered by out-of-state schools in neighboring and regional states.

Schools in Iowa That Offer Online Master’s Programs

There are three large public universities in Iowa: Iowa State University in Ames; the University of Iowa in Iowa City; and the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls. Iowa State is the largest of the three and it encompasses numerous academic divisions, including the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Ivy College of Business, the Iowa State University School of Education, and Colleges of Engineering, Design, and Human Sciences. The University of Iowa is home to the renowned Iowa Writer’s Workshop, as well as the Hanson Center for Technical Communication, the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, and schools of medicine and law. And UNI has Colleges of Business Administration, Education, Humanities, Arts & Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The table below lists all three of Iowa’s public universities from largest to smallest, based on an analysis of enrollment data collected by the US Department of Education for its Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS).

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
Iowa State UniversityAmesYes
University of IowaIowa CityYes
University of Northern Iowa (UNI)Cedar FallsYes

Upper Iowa University in Fayette is the largest private, non-profit university in the state, and Drake University is home to one of the two graduate schools of law in Iowa. There are numerous other private, non-profit colleges and universities in the state, the ten largest of which are listed in the table below along with the location of each school’s campus and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
Upper Iowa UniversityFayetteYes
Drake UniversityDes MoinesYes
Saint Ambrose UniversityDavenportYes
Morningside CollegeSioux CityYes
University of DubuqueDubuqueYes
Graceland UniversityLamoniYes
Luther CollegeDecorahNo
Buena Vista UniversityStorm LakeYes
Mount Mercy UniversityCedar RapidsYes
Grand View UniversityDes MoinesYes

Schools in the Iowa Region That Offer Online Degree Programs

Iowa residents who are interested in exploring options for earning a master’s degree through programs offered by schools in other states may want to consider several schools located in states bordering Iowa that have online master’s programs. In Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) are two public universities that are active in offering online master’s programs. UWM has online master’s programs in healthcare administration (MHA), information science and technology, business administration (MBA), and several education specializations. The Information School at UW-Madison offers online master’s in library and information sciences programs, and UW-Madison’s College of Engineering has online master’s programs in a number of specializations, including civil, electrical, environmental, manufacturing, and mechanical engineering.

In Illinois there are two private universities offering online master’s programs that Iowa residents may want to explore. Chicago’s DePaul University has online masters programs in accounting, computer science, cybersecurity, data science, educational leadership, nursing (MSN), and public administration (MPA). Lewis University in Romeoville offers online master’s programs in computer science, data science, criminal justice, organizational leadership, and public safety administration.

In Minnesota, the state administered University of Minnesota Online offers a variety of fully online programs, including Executive Master’s programs in healthcare administration (MHA) and public health (MPH) that are designed for working professionals with several years of experience in their respective fields. In addition, the University of Minnesota Online has programs in business administration (MBA), health informatics, clinical research, electrical engineering, and several education specializations.

The 15 Most Common Fields for Master’s Degree Studies in Iowa

Through an analysis of IPEDS data on the number of students graduating from master’s programs at schools in Iowa, OnlineEducation.com has identified the 15 most common areas of master’s level study in the state. These areas of study are:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Family Practice Nurse/Nursing
  3. Computer Science
  4. Health/Health Care Administration/Management
  5. Accounting
  6. Psychology
  7. Education
  8. Public Health
  9. Organizational Leadership
  10. Curriculum and Instruction
  11. Social Work
  12. Behavioral Sciences
  13. Business Administration, Management and Operations
  14. Higher Education/Higher Education Administration
  15. Public Administration

While IPEDS subject area classifications do not align precisely with the names of actual online master’s programs, the IPEDS data provide a representative overview of general types of master’s-level programs from which the largest number of students are graduating in the state. The sections below provide detailed information on Iowa schools and schools located in nearby states that offer online master’s programs in many of these fields.

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Programs in Iowa

Business administration programs represent the most common type of master’s program from which students at schools in Iowa graduate on a yearly basis. There are several schools in the state that offer online MBA programs, including the University of Iowa, which offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program through its Tipple College of Business. The program consists of 15 courses that can be completed in two years and features an optional travel abroad opportunity for students who are interested in studying international business.

Upper Iowa University, the largest private, non-profit university in the state, offers an online MBA program with flexible enrollment, allowing students to take courses at their own pace. Students in the program can complete a general business administration curriculum or choose from four specializations: Accounting; Corporate Financial Management; Human Resource Management; and Organizational Development.

Drake University, St. Ambrose University, and Mount Mercy University are three other Iowa schools that offer online MBA programs. The Drake program, which can be completed in two years, has two designation concentrations (Healthcare and Data Analytics) and a third options that allows students to choose electives from the school’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Communication programs. St. Ambrose offers an online MBA program that can be completed in as few as 14 months by students who enroll full-time. It has four specializations: Human Resource Management; International Management; Leadership; and Marketing Management. And the Mount Mercy online MBA program has a general business administration curriculum that can be completed in 12 to 18 months by full-time students.

Iowa residents who are interested in exploring online MBA programs offered by out-of-state schools in the Iowa region may want to consider the programs offered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the University of Minnesota Online. UWM’s Lubar School of Business has an online MBA program that gives students the option of taking all of their courses online, on-campus, or enrolling in a mix of online and on-campus courses. The program has three specializations that can be completed entirely online: Business Analytics; Marketing; and Supply Chain Management. Through the University of Minnesota Online, Iowa residents can earn an MBA degree in two years and take elective courses in a variety of specializations, including: Accounting; Finance; Information & Decision Sciences; Managerial Communications; and Medical Industry Leadership. The program provides all of its coursework online but requires students to attend two residency sessions at the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis.

Missouri’s Maryville University and Minnesota’s St. Mary’s University of Minnesota are two additional schools in neighboring states that offer online MBA programs. Maryville’s program can be completed in as few as 12 months by full-time students and has nine concentrations: Accounting; Cybersecurity; Financial Services; General Management; Health Administration; Human Resource Management; Information Technology; Marketing; and Project Management. The St. Mary’s program has an 18-month enrollment plan and three designated concentrations: Data Analytics; Social Media Management and Marketing; and Sustainability and Environmental Management.

Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Programs in Iowa

Morningside College and Graceland University are two Iowa schools that offer Registered Nurses (RNs) the option of earning an MSN degree online. The Nylen School of Nursing at Morningside College has an online MSN program designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). It has three specializations: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL); Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (FNP); and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP). Students in the program are required to attend one on-campus residency and clinical practicums at a site approved by the program. However, all of the program’s other coursework is provided online.

Graceland University’s School of Nursing offers two types of online MSN programs: a program for RNs who do not hold a bachelor’s degree (RN-BSN-MSN); and a program for RNs who have a BSN degree. The RN-BSN-MSN program allows students to opt out once they have completed their bachelor’s degree requirements or to proceed into the MSN program, which has two specialization tracks: FNP; and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP). Students in the program are required to attend two immersion sessions at the school’s campus in Independence, and both specialization tracks require students to complete clinical practicums at a site approved by the program.

RNs in Iowa may also want to explore online MSN programs offered by regional schools that accept applicants from Iowa. In Illinois, there are three of online MSN programs that Iowa RNs may want to consider, including programs offered by Benedictine University, DePaul University, and Loyola University Chicago. Benedictine’s online MSN program is designed for RNs who hold BSN degree. The program, which can be completed in two years, has Nurse Executive Leader and Nurse Educator concentrations. The DePaul program is designed to accommodate RNs who do not have a bachelor’s degree, RNs who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and RNs who have a BSN degree. It has two tracks: Nurse Administrator; and Nurse Educator. And the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago offers several blended MSN programs as well as a fully online MSN in Healthcare Administration program that is open to RNs who hold a BSN degree. The program requires students to attend one campus-based session per year.

Note: Online MSN programs typically require students to complete in-person practicums, internships, and/or clinical residencies at an approved site. RNs who are considering online MSN programs offered by out-of-state schools may want to contact a program administrator regarding clinical placements prior to submitting an application. In addition, RNs who intend to apply for licensure in an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) specialization after completing an MSN program should research Iowa licensing requirements to ensure that the program meets those requirements, particularly if the program is offered by an out-of-state school.

Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs in Iowa

Iowa State University offers two types of online programs that may interest students who want to earn a master’s degree in computer science. The College of Engineering at Iowa State has an online Master of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Engineering program and an online Master of Science (MS) in Human Computer Interaction program. The Computer Engineering program includes coursework in computing and networking systems, software systems, and advanced electronics. The Human Computer Interaction program features classes in cognitive psychology and visual design aspects of computer interfaces, computer application design, and digital learning environments.

There are also several online options for earning a master’s degree in computer science from schools located in neighboring states. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an online Master of Computer Science (MCS) program that includes coursework in parallel computing, machine learning, and database systems, and an online MCS in Data Science program that focuses on the use of computer science proficiencies to solve complex data problems. DePaul University in Illinois offers an online MS in Computer Science program that features coursework in data systems, computer algorithms, and object-oriented software development. And Lewis University, another school located in Illinois, has an online MS in Computer Science program that offers optional concentrations in Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Forensics, Cloud Computing, Game Programming, and Software Engineering.

Online Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) Programs in Iowa

Des Moines University (DMU), a private, non-profit medical school in Des Moines, currently offers the only online MHA program in Iowa. The program, which can be completed in two years, features 20 online courses, a field-based internship requirement, and three on-campus professional development sessions that students must attend. In addition, the program is approved by the Iowa Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators. It features coursework in healthcare finance, information management, organizational development, as well as a long-term care internship, and it can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment.

Minnesota State University Moorhead offers an online MHA programs that Iowa residents may want to explore. The program is designed for healthcare professionals who want advanced training in managing financial, operational, human resource, and marketing functions of healthcare organizations and features a two-part capstone experience that gives students the opportunity to work with a healthcare organization and apply what they have learned through their coursework. Iowa residents may also want to explore the online Master of Arts (MA) in Health and Human Services Administration offered by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, which is similar to an MHA program. The Saint Mary’s program, which takes roughly two years to complete, focuses on marketing, finance, human resource development, information management, and quality control in healthcare organizations and is approved by the Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) is an additional school in the Iowa region that offers an online MHA program. The UWM program, which includes an internship and capstone project requirement, can be completed in two years.

Note: Many but not all online MHA programs have internship requirements that students must complete in-person at a site approved by the program, and some online MHA programs are designed to qualify students for various types of healthcare administration licenses, such as nursing home administration. Students who reside in Iowa and intend to earn an MHA degree online from an out-of-state school should contact a program administrator regarding internship requirements prior to filing an application and should be aware of Iowa’s licensure requirements if they intend to apply for licensure once they have earned their degree.

Online Master’s in Accounting Programs in Iowa

There are a number of colleges and universities in Iowa that offer master’s programs in accounting, but currently none of those programs are offered online. However, there are several schools in nearby states that have online master’s in accounting programs. Edgewood College in Madison, WI is one such school. The online Master of Science (MS) in Accountancy program offered by Edgewood is designed for students who have an academic and/or professional background in accounting and/or business. The school gives admissions preference to candidates who have five or more years of relevant professional experience and/or a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Applicants who do not meet these qualifications must demonstrate that they have taken college-level courses in economics, statistics, mathematics, finance, business law, accounting, and taxation. The program can be completed in a few as 12 month by students enrolled full-time.

DePaul University in Chicago also offers an online master’s program in accounting that Iowa residents may want to explore. The DePaul program is an online MS in Accountancy program that does not require applicants to have prior coursework or experience in accounting. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an online MS in Accountancy program that has similar admissions policies and that can be completed in 18 months of full-time or 24-months of part-time enrollment. And Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has an MS in Accounting that can be completed in as few as 20 months.

Note: Students who intend to qualify for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure after completing an online master’s in accounting program should be aware that eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA exam vary by state. It is thus advisable to research Iowa’s CPA requirements prior to applying to online programs offered by out-of-state schools.

Online Master’s in Psychology and Behavioral Science Programs in Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is the one Iowa school that currently offers an online master’s program in a psychology field. UNI’s College of Education has an online Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Psychology: Professional Development for Teachers program designed for working educators who are interested in studying psychological aspects of learning. While the program is designed to provide primary and secondary school teachers with advanced training in theories and practices of educational psychology, the program does not require applicants to be licensed teachers.

Outside of Iowa, in the nearby states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois, there are several schools offering online master’s programs in a range of psychology specializations, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), which has a Master of Science for Professional Educators (MSPE) program that offers an online MS in Educational Psychology degree. The program requires applicants to have a minimum of two years of teaching experience. The University of Minnesota Online offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Child and Adolescent Development program that includes coursework in advanced development psychology, behavioral science research methods, and cognitive and biological development. The program has three specialization tracks: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health; Child Life; and Individualized Studies. And the Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers online MA in Psychology programs with concentrations in: Public Health; Child and Adolescent Psychology; Applied Behavior Analysis; Industrial-Organizational Psychology; and International Psychology.

Online Master’s in Education and Teaching Programs in Iowa

There are a number of schools in Iowa that offer online master’s programs in various teaching and education specialties, including Iowa State University, which has two online master’s in education programs. Iowa State offers an online Master of Education (MEd) in Education program with an emphasis in Instructional Technology, and an online MEd in Higher Education program. The University of Iowa’s College of Education offers three types of online master’s in education programs: a Master of Arts (MA) in Educational Leadership program; an MA in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency program; and an online Master of Science (MS) in STEM Education program. And the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) offers numerous online master’s programs for teachers and educators, including Master of Arts in Education (MAE) programs in: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Literacy Education; Principalship; and Special Education. UNI’s online MAE programs are designed for working teachers who are interested in additional training and skills, and the Principalship program requires applicants to hold a valid state teaching license.

In addition to the online MAE programs offered by UNI, the school has online MA programs in a number of different education specializations. Teachers who do not hold a teaching license may be eligible for UNI’s online MA programs in: Instructional Technology; Mathematics for Elementary and Middle Grades (K-8); Mathematics for Community College Teaching; Mathematics for Secondary School; Science Education; and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Licensed teachers may be eligible for the following online MA program specializations offered by UNI: School Library Studies; and Teaching English in Secondary Schools (TESS). Students who have not yet attained licensure but who hold a bachelors degree in teaching may be eligible for UNI’s online MA in Teacher Leadership for International Educators, although students must be teaching in an international school in order to enroll in the program.

Upper Iowa University offers an online MEd program with seven areas of specialization: Early Childhood; English as a Second Language (ESL); Higher Education; Instructional Strategist; Reading; Talented and Gifted; and Teacher Leadership. All seven specializations are designed to accommodate students who intend to seek licensure in their field following the completion of their degree, as well as students who are interested in learning a new teaching specialization without seeking an additional license.

Drake University has an online Master of Science in Education (MSE) program with four specializations: STEM Education; Reading Specialist; ESL; and Special Education. Morningside College offers an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program with Professional Educator and Special Education tracks. The program requires applicants to hold a valid teaching license. Graceland University has online MEd programs in Literacy Instruction, Special Education, and Instructional Leadership. Applicants are required to be licensed teachers. And Buena Vista University offers an online MEd in Special Education program that does not require applicants to hold a teaching license.

Among the many out-of-state schools that offer online master’s programs for teachers and educators are two schools in nearby states: the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the University of Minnesota. The School of Education at UWM offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Education Administration & Supervision program, an online MS in Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education Administration program, and an online MS in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education program. The University of Minnesota Online has MEd programs in Family Education, Professional Studies Learning Technologies; and Administration Specialist.

Note: Iowa residents who intend to seek licensure in Iowa should examine the state’s licensing requirements prior to submitting applications to online master’s in education and teaching programs offered by out-of-state schools, as licensure requirements for teachers and educational administrators vary by state. Potential applicants to out-of-state programs should also be aware that some programs require student teaching experiences, which must be completed in-person at a school approved by the program. Prior to submitting applications to out-of-state programs, it is advisable to contact program administrators regarding student teaching requirements.

Online Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Programs in Iowa

Des Moines University (DMU) and St. Ambrose University are two schools in Iowa that offer online MPH programs. The DMU program, which can be completed in two years, has three concentrations: Public Health Practice; Public Health Administration and Policy; and Health Education and Promotion. All three feature a 180-hour applied practice experience, which involves fieldwork at a public health agency. St. Ambrose’s online MPH program has a general curriculum that includes coursework in global health policy, community health, epidemiology, and biostatistical analysis. Students can complete the program, which includes a 200-hour practicum, in 18 months.

The University of Minnesota Online offers an online MPH program with a Maternal and Child Health concentration that Iowa residents may want to explore. The program has an Advanced Standing track for students who already hold a graduate degree or who have three or more years of relevant professional experience, as well as a standard track for students who hold a bachelor’s degree. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s also offers an online MPH program that Iowa residents may want to consider. The program includes a field education requirement and can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment. And Benedictine University, which is located in the neighboring state of Illinois, has an online MPH program with a general public health curriculum and options for graduate certificates in three specialties: Epidemiology; Health Education & Promotion; and Health Management & Policy.

Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership Programs in Iowa

There are three schools in Iowa that offer online master’s program in organizational leadership: St. Ambrose University; Buena Vista University; and Grand View University. The St. Ambrose program is an online Master of Organizational Leadership program with coursework in leadership theory, conflict management, and organizational communication. The program can be completed in 18 to 24 months. Buena Vista has an online Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Leadership program that can be completed in roughly 18 months. And Grand View has an online Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership that includes an optional 3-day residency at Grand View’s campus as part of the program’s mentoring course. Students can compete the Grand View program in 21 months.

Lewis University and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology are two schools in the nearby state of Illinois that offer online master’s programs in organizational leadership. Lewis University offers an online MA in Organizational Leadership program with five concentrations: Higher Education Student Services; Nonprofit Management; Organizational Management; Professional and Executive Coaching; and Training and Development. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months. The Chicago School has an online MA in Organizational Leadership program that focuses on psychological aspects of leadership, management, and organizational change.

Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Iowa

The University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) are two schools in Iowa that have online MSW programs. The University of Iowa’s program is a part-time online MSW program that takes three years to complete and that is intended primarily for students who cannot attend classes at the university’s Sioux City, Des Moines, Quad Cities, or Iowa City campuses. The program has a macro or community practice focus. UNI’s online MSW program has a clinical practice curriculum and a Trauma Informed Practice concentration. The program has a Foundation Track for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work, and an Advanced Standing track for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Foundation Track takes approximately three years to complete, while the Advanced Standing track can be completed in roughly two years.

There are numerous out-of-state schools that offer online MSW programs, including two schools in the neighboring state of Illinois: Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Loyola’s online MSW program has a macro practice (Leadership and Development) track, as well a clinical practice track that gives students three options for specialization: Mental Health; School Social Work; and Health, Children and Families. Students who hold a BSW degree may be eligible for the Loyola program’s Advanced Standing track, which can be completed in one year of full-time enrollment. The program’s traditional track can be completed in two years.

The MSW program offered by the University of Illinois has a macro practice curriculum that is open to applicants who hold a BSW degree. Students who do not have a BSW degree may be eligible to enroll in the University of Illinois’ traditional MSW program, which is taught in a hybrid format that requires students to attend several weekend sessions per semester at the school’s Urbana-Champaign campus or at the Illini Center in Chicago. The University of Illinois also has an MSW program with a clinical practice curriculum and specializations in Mental Health, Health Care, and Children, Youth, and Family Services that is offered in a hybrid format.

Note: Online MSW programs have field education requirements that students must complete in person at sites approved by the program. Iowa residents who are considering programs offered by out-of-state schools should contact program administrators regarding potential field placements prior to submitting applications. Iowa residents who intend to pursue licensure in clinical social work upon completion of an online MSW program should be aware that licensure requirements vary by state. Comparing state licensing requirements to a program’s curriculum may be advisable prior to submitting an application to an online program, particularly if that program is offered by a school in another state.

Online Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) Programs in Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is a state school in Iowa that offers an online MPA program. The UNI program has a Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development focus and is designed primarily for professionals who have three to five years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Students accepted into the program progress through the curriculum as part of a cohort and graduate after two years of year-round enrollment.

Upper Iowa University and Drake University are two additional schools in Iowa that offer online MPA programs. Upper Iowa University has an online MPA with a Public Management emphasis that does not require students to have prior professional experience in public management, and Drake University has an online program that has a general public administration curriculum and two options for specialization: Executive Leadership Development; and Healthcare Management. Students in the Drake program can also design their own specialization by taking online courses offered through Drake’s MPA, Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Master of Communication programs.

Iowa residents may also be interested in exploring the online MPA program offered by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UW-Oshkosh), which has four concentrations: General Public Administration; Health Agency Administration; Nonprofit Management and Leadership; and Fire and Emergency Administration and Management. And DePaul University and Lewis University are two schools in Illinois that offer online master’s programs in public administration fields. The DePaul program in an online MPA program with four specialization options: Emergency Management; Public Management; Metropolitan and Urban Affairs; and International Public Management. Lewis University has an online Master of Science (MS) in Public Safety Administration program that focuses on emergency management and response, public safety training programs, and environmental protection. All three of these out-of-state programs have enrollment options that allow students to complete their degree in roughly two years.