Residents of Massachusetts who hold a bachelor’s degree can take advantage of opportunities to advance academically and/or professionally without having to relocate or commute to a college or university by exploring numerous options for earning a master’s degree online. There are online master’s programs in many of the most common areas of graduate study, including business, computer science, healthcare, and social work. Most of the public and many of the private colleges and universities in Massachusetts offer online master’s programs in one or more areas of study. In addition, residents of Massachusetts can explore a broad range of options for earning a master’s degree online from schools located in other states, many of which accept applicants from Massachusetts. In the sections below, we provide an overview of public and non-profit private degree-granting institutions in Massachusetts that offer online master’s programs in common areas of graduate study, and schools in nearby states that offer online programs as well.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s publicly funded system of higher education has three tiers and includes five University of Massachusetts campuses, nine state universities, and 15 community colleges. The University of Massachusetts (UMass) is the largest public research and degree-granting institution in the state, with campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Worcester. While the UMass system is governed by a central board of trustees, each campus operates semi-autonomously, offering its own degree and certificate programs on campus and online. In addition, UMass Online serves as the distance-learning arm of the UMass system, providing a centralized website for information about online programs offered by all five of the system’s schools.
Most of the nine state universities in Massachusetts offer online degree programs, and some offer online master’s programs. Massachusetts has state universities in Bridgewater, Fitchburg, Framingham, Salem, Westfield, and Worcester, as well as several specialized state schools, including Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Cape Cod, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires. Information about online programs offered by most of the state-funded schools in Massachusetts is available through Massachusetts College Online, which features a searchable online database of distance-learning programs and degrees offered by the state’s colleges and universities.
The table below lists the ten largest publicly funded, degree-granting institutions in Massachusetts, based on the most recent data collected by the US Department of Education for its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst)||Amherst||Yes|
|University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass Lowell)||Lowell||Yes|
|University of Massachusetts-Boston (UMass Boston)||Boston||Yes|
|Bridgewater State University||Bridgewater||Yes|
|Salem State University||Salem||Yes|
|University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth)||Dartmouth||Yes|
|Fitchburg State University||Fitchburg||Yes|
|Worcester State University||Worcester||No|
|Westfield State University||Westfield||Yes|
|Framingham State University||Framingham||Yes|
Massachusetts in also home to many private colleges and universities that offer online degree programs, including two of the most elite universities in the country: Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The table below provides and overview of the 15 largest non-profit private colleges and universities in the state, the location of each school’s main campus, and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|Boston University (BU)||Boston||Yes|
|Boston College (BC)||Chestnut Hill||Yes|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||Cambridge||Yes|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)||Worchester||Yes|
|Berklee College of Music||Boston||Yes|
Many out-of-state schools offer online master’s programs that accept applicants from Massachusetts. This includes colleges and universities located in the neighboring states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Massachusetts residents who are considering online master’s programs offered by schools located in other states should examine admissions policies carefully to ensure programs accept candidates from Massachusetts, particularly in fields that require internships, field education, and other types of in-person supervised hours. Similarly, in fields that require state licensure, such as nursing, counseling, and social work, it is important to examine the curricula of out-of-states programs carefully to ensure they align with licensure requirements in Massachusetts.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a large, non-profit private school with campuses in Manchester and Hooksett, NH. The school is active in offering online degree programs in a broad range of fields and disciplines, including online master’s programs in accounting and finance, nursing and public health, communication and marketing, education and counseling, cybersecurity and information technology, and business and healthcare administration. Residents of Massachusetts who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university are eligible to apply for many of the online master’s programs offered by SNHU.
New York University (NYU) is another large, private, non-profit school in a state bordering Massachusetts that is active in offering online degree programs. NYU’s online programs include master’s programs offered through its many academic divisions, including its College of Global Public Health; Graduate School of Arts and Science; School of Law; School of Professional Studies; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; Stern School of Business; and Tandon School of Engineering. NYU has online Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH), and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs, as well as online master’s programs in management, professional writing, counseling, business analytics, computer engineering, and cybersecurity.
Located in the upstate New York city of Syracuse, Syracuse University offers online master’s programs through its University College initiative, which features online master’s in data science, computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering programs. Syracuse University, which is a private, non-profit research university, also offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, as well as several online master’s programs through its School of Information Studies.
Norwich University in Vermont and Sacred Heart University in Connecticut are two of the other private schools in the New England region that offer online degree programs. Massachusetts residents can explore options for earning an online MBA through Norwich University, as well as online master’s degrees in civil engineering, public administration, nursing, executive leadership, and more. And Sacred Heart University offers online master’s programs in social work, nursing, and psychology.
Through careful analysis of data collected by the Department of Education for its IPEDS system, OnlineEducation.com has identified the 15 most common areas of master’s-level study in Massachusetts. Using data on the number of graduates from master’s programs offered by schools in Massachusetts, we have determined that students in Massachusetts commonly pursue master’s degrees in the following fields:
The sections below offer detailed information on schools in Massachusetts and regional states that offer online master’s programs in many of the fields listed above.
UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, and Fitchburg State University are four of the public universities in the state that offer online MBA programs. The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst has a flexible online MBA program that allows students to take all of their courses online or combine online classes with classes taken on campus. The program also gives students the option of choosing from six focus areas: Business Analytics; Entrepreneurship; Finance; Healthcare Administration; Marketing; and Sport Management.
The program offered by UMass Dartmouth has a general business administration curriculum and electives in subjects like international finance, digital marketing, and logistics management. The UMass Lowell program has eight concentrations: Accounting; Entrepreneurship; Finance; Healthcare; Information Technology; International Business; Managerial Leadership; and Marketing. And the Fitchburg State program, which can be completed in as few as 12 months, has three specializations: Accounting; Human Resource Management; and Management.
Suffolk University, Simmons University, Bentley University, Endicott College, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University are six of the private schools in Massachusetts that offer online MBA programs. Suffolk’s online MBA program features three concentrations: Accounting; Finance; and Business Intelligence. The program offered by Simmons has a general business administration curriculum and includes two in-person immersion sessions held in various business cities around the world. Bentley’s online program allows students to choose from one of eight designated concentrations or to design their own through elective coursework. The eight concentrations offered by Bentley are: Accountancy; Business Analytics; Economics of Financial Markets; Finance; Information Systems and Technology; Law and Taxation; Leadership; and Marketing.
The Van Loan School at Endicott College offers an online MBA program that has 14 areas of concentration, including: Entrepreneurship; Health Informatics; Hospitality/Hotel Management; Maritime Economics; and Non-Profit Management. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University has an online MBA program that offers eight concentrations: Finance; Healthcare Management; Technology Management; Innovation Entrepreneurship; International Management; Marketing; Supply Chain Management; and Sustainability. And MCPHS University offers an online MBA in Healthcare Management.
In addition to online MBA programs, there are several schools in Massachusetts that offer online master’s degrees in various management specializations. Boston University’s online offerings include Master of Science (MS) degree programs in the following areas: Enterprise Risk Management; Financial Management; Global Marketing Management; Insurance Management; Project Management; and Supply Chain Management. Brandeis University offers an online MS in Project and Program Management. And Lesley University offers an online MS in Business Management program.
Massachusetts residents who are interested in online MBA programs offered by out-of-state schools may want to explore the programs offered by Norwich University in Vermont and Syracuse University in New York. Norwich University offers an online MBA that includes a one-week campus residency and that features a general business administration curriculum as well as six concentrations: Energy Management; Organizational Leadership; Supply Chain Management and Logistics; Construction Management; Finance; and Project Management. The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University has an online MBA program that requires three in-person residencies that are held on campus and at various cities in the US and abroad. The program features six specializations: Accounting; Business Analytics; Entrepreneurship; Finance; Marketing Management; and Supply Chain Management.
There are currently two schools in Massachusetts with MSW programs that are offered fully or partially online: Boston University (BU) and Simmons University. BU has a part-time MSW that offers most of its coursework online but that requires students to attend weekly, live classroom sessions on campus that are held on Sunday or Monday evenings when school is in session. Students in the program take one course at a time for seven-weeks terms during their first year, and two courses per 15-week semester during their second year, which also includes field education. The program features tracks in clinical and macro practice social work, as well as a Human Service Experience track that is open to applicants who have at least two years of supervised experience in a human services profession. An Advanced Standing track is open to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Simmons offers an online MSW program that does not require campus visits, but that does include field education placements that must be completed in person. The Simmons program uses a cohort model, which means that students begin and progress through the program as part of group, completing a designated sequence of classes together. The program offers three enrollment options, with cohorts that graduate in 15, 23, and 32 months. This is a clinical social work master’s program with four specializations: Child and Family; Trauma and Interpersonal Violence; Health and Aging; and Mental Health and Addictions.
Massachusetts residents who are interested in exploring an online MSW program offered by a regional school that accepts applicants from Massachusetts may want to look into the program offered by Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. The Sacred Heart program offers concentrations in direct clinical practice and direct community practice. Students can complete the program in between two and three-and-a-half years, depending on how many courses they complete per semester. Sacred Heart has an Advanced Standing track for graduates from accredited BSW programs that can be completed in less than two years.
Note: Accredited online MSW programs require field education hours, which must be completed in-person at a site approved by the program. For this and other reasons, online MSW programs may not accept students from every state. Residents of Massachusetts should contact a program administrator regarding field placements and admissions eligibility prior to submitting an application to an online MSW program. Applicants to out-of-state programs should also be aware that licensure requirements for clinical social workers vary by state. Those intending to apply for licensure in Massachusetts should examine online MSW program curricula carefully to ensure that out-of-state programs provide the coursework and field education required for state licensure.
Massachusetts teachers who want advanced training in a many areas of education can choose from a broad range of online master’s programs in instruction, learning technologies, educational administration, special education, and other specializations. The College of Education at UMass Amherst offers online Master of Education (MEd) degree programs in Higher Education, International Education, and Science Education for elementary and middle school students. UMass Lowell’s College of Education has online MEd programs in Education Administration, Reading and Language, and Curriculum and Instruction. And UMass Boston offers an online MEd in Instructional Design program.
Fitchburg State has two online MEd programs: an online MEd in Curriculum and Teaching program, and an online MEd in Educational Leadership and Management program. And Framingham State University offers an array of online programs for teachers. These include MEd programs with concentrations in Curriculum and Instructional Technology, Educational Technology, and Nutrition Education.
Among Massachusetts private colleges and universities that offer online master’s programs, Boston University (BU), Northeastern University, Endicott College, and Lesley University are some of the schools that offer master’s in education programs online. BU’s College of Education & Human Development offers an online MEd in Curriculum & Teaching for practicing educators. Students in the program choose from seven content tracks: Elementary Education; English Education; English as a Second Language; Math Education; Science Education; Social Studies Education; and Special Education. BU also offers an online MEd in Higher Education Administration program with a focus on Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
Through its College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University offers online MEd programs in three areas: Higher Education Administration; Learning and Instruction; and Special Education. The Van Loan School at Endicott College offers an online MEd in Higher Education Administration program, as well as online MEd in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs with several focuses: Autism and ABA; Special Education and ABA (Moderate); and Special Education and ABA (Severe). And Lesley University offers online MEd programs with the following specializations: Educational Technology; Elementary Education; Language and Literacy; Mathematics Education; and Science in Education.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is one regional school that offers online master’s in education programs. SNHU’s offerings include an online MEd program with five concentrations: Dyslexia & Language Based Learning Disorders; Educational Leadership; Reading; Special Education; and Technology Integration. SNHU also offers an online MS in Higher Education Administration program.
The Steinhardt School at New York University (NYU) is another option for earning an online master’s in education from a regional, out-of-state school. It offers online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs that require teaching residencies and that can prepare graduates for teaching certifications. NYU’s online MAT programs include English Education, Math Education, Science Education, Secondary Education, Social Studies Education, and Special Education for grades 7-12.
Note: Massachusetts residents who are considering online master’s in teaching and education programs offered by schools located in another state should be aware of two important factors. Online programs may require internships that take place at a site approved by the program and which may entail travel in order to complete, and licensure requirements for teachers vary by state. Students who intend to apply for licensure in Massachusetts after completing an online master’s programs offered by a school in another state should check to make sure the program curriculum meets the licensure requirements for teachers in Massachusetts.
Westfield State University is one of the schools in Massachusetts that offers students the opportunity to earn a master’s in accounting online. The Westfield State online MS in Accounting program is designed for students who majored in business or accounting as undergraduates, although the program does accept students who have other types of bachelor’s degrees on the condition that they may have to take several prerequisite courses. The program is designed to help prepare students to meet the requirements for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Examination and the curriculum fulfills the 150-hour educational requirement for professional certification as a CPA in Massachusetts.
UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst also offer online master’s in accounting programs. The UMass Lowell MS in Accounting program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Students who do not have a bachelor’s in accounting degree may have to complete up to seven prerequisite courses. UMass Amherst offers an online Accounting Transitions program that provides students who did not major in accounting as undergraduates with five courses designed to prepare them for the school’s online MS in Accounting program. The program is designed to help students prepare for the CPA Examination.
Northeastern University and Bentley College offer online Master of Science in Taxation (MST) programs that may be of interest to practicing accountants. The Northeastern online MST program is designed for CPAs and accountants who have at least two years of experience in a tax-related field. The Bentley MST program does not require applicants to hold CPA licensure and has a curriculum that may help students prepare for CPA licensure.
Massachusetts residents may want to explore the online MS in Accounting offered by New England College in Henniker, NH. The program accepts applicants year-round on a rolling basis for courses that start every seven weeks and can be completed in roughly two years. The master’s in accounting curriculum offered by New England College can help prepare students for the CPA examination, as well as for Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications.
Note: Eligibility to sit for the CPA examination is determined by state boards and the requirements vary by state. Students who intent to apply for CPA certification in Massachusetts after completing an online master’s in accounting program offered by an out-of-state school should research licensure requirements in Massachusetts in order to determine whether or not an out-of-state program meets those requirement.
There are several schools in Massachusetts that provide training in government and public sector administration through online master’s in public administration degree programs. Anna Maria College, a private school in Paxton, offers an online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program that has a general public administration track, as well specializations in Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Services, and Homeland Security. Northeastern University’s College of Social Science & Humanities offers an online MPA program that provides general training in public administration and gives students the opportunity to earn graduate certificates in Nonprofit Sector Administration and Urban Analytics at no additional cost. And the College of Advancing and Professional Studies and the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston offer an online MPA in Global Comparative Public Administration designed to prepare students for public service careers in state, national, and international governments and non-governmental organizations.
Norwich University in Northfield, VT, is one out-of-state school in the New England region that offers an online MPA program. Norwich’s program features eight concentrations, including: Criminal Justice and Public Safety; International Development and Influence; Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management; Fiscal Management; Municipal Government; Nonprofit Management; Public Works and Sustainability; and Policy Analysis and Analytics. Students in the Norwich online MPA program must attend a one-week residency on the school’s campus and most students complete the program in in roughly 18 months. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which is part of the City University of New York system, offers a fully online MPA program with four specializations: Criminal Justice Policy and Administration; Emergency Management; Human Resources Management; and Management and Operations. Students can complete the program in an average of two years.
UMass Boston offers an online MS in Mental Health Counseling that provides most of its coursework online and that is designed for students who are not able to attend campus-based classes. The program utilizes a cohort model, which means students begin and progress through the program as a group, completing a set sequence of courses in two years. Students who are accepted into the program begin in the summer with two campus-based classes that take two weeks to complete. The rest of the classes are offered online, although students are required to complete a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship in a mental health treatment facility. UMass Boston offers a similarly structured online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling with two tracks: Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. And those interested in training for school counselors can explore the online MEd in School Counseling program offered by UMass Boston, which also uses a cohort model and begins with two weeks of on-campus classes.
Antioch University’s New England campus, which is located in Keene, NH, offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling that accepts applicants from Massachusetts. The program includes a two-week in-person colloquium held on Antioch’s New England campus, a 100-hour practicum, and 900 hours of internship experiences. Residents of Massachusetts may also want to explore two online programs offered by the Steinhardt School at New York University (NYU): an online MA in Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual School Counseling; and an online MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness.
Note: Licensing requirements for various types of professional counselors, including mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and school counselors, vary by state. Applicants to online master’s in counseling programs offered by out-of-state schools should examine Massachusetts licensing requirements carefully to determine whether or not a program’s curriculum meets state requirements. In addition, online master’s in counseling programs typically require several hundred hours of in-person, supervised internships. Internship hours typically must be completed at a site approved by the program. Applicants to out-of-state programs should inquire with a program administrator regarding potential internship sites prior to submitting an application.
UMass Dartmouth is one of the schools in Massachusetts that offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) degree program. The program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Applicants who do not hold a computer science bachelor’s degree may be required to take up to four prerequisites online prior to beginning the core MSCS curriculum. The program can be completed in four semesters by students who have a strong background in computer science. Students have up to six years to complete the degree requirements.
Boston University (BU) offers and online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS) program that focuses on computer applications systems, database systems architecture and management, and emerging information technologies. Students in the program can choose from seven concentrations: Computer Networks; Data Analytics; Database Management & Business Intelligence; Health Informatics; IT Project Management; Security; and Web Application Development. BU also offers an online MS in Software Development program. Some of the other computer science-related online master’s programs offered by schools in Massachusetts include a Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program offered by UMass Lowell; an online Master of Software Engineering program offered by Brandeis University; and an online MSIT program offered by Endicott College.
Syracuse University in New York is one of the regional, out-of-state schools that offer an online MSCS program. The Syracuse program is offered through the school’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students in the program are required to attend one on-campus, weekend-long immersion session during the program. Syracuse offers preparatory courses for the MSCS program that are recommended for students who do not have prior programming experience. Residents of Massachusetts may also want to explore the online MSIT program offered by Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). It features the following concentrations: Data Analytics; Database Design; Healthcare Informatics; Information Security; IT Management; Software Application Development; and Web Design.
There are many different types of online master’s in engineering degree programs that are offered online by schools in Massachusetts. For example, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) offers online master’s programs in the following engineering specializations: Biomedical Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Fire Protection Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Power Systems Engineering; Robotics Engineering; and Systems Engineering. WPI’s engineering programs are designed for students who studied engineering as undergraduates, although specific admissions requirements vary by program.
The College of Engineering at Northeastern University offers an online MS in Engineering Management that provides technical training in engineering principles, as well as training in leadership and organizational management skills that can be applied in the engineering sector. And Brandeis University offers an online MA in Robotic Software Engineering that focuses on building and programming robotic technologies.
Residents of Massachusetts who are interested in earning a Master of Civil Engineering may want to explore the online program offered by Norwich University in Vermont. The Norwich program has four concentrations: Construction Management; Geotechnical Engineering; Structural Engineering; and Environmental/Water Resources Engineering. The program includes a required one-week residency on Norwich’s campus in Northfield, VT. The New Jersey Institute of Technology, a public university located in Newark, also offers an online MS in Civil Engineering degree program. Students in the program can choose from three specializations: Construction Management; Transportation; and Structural Design & Construction.
There are a number of schools in Massachusetts that offer online master’s program in public health and public health-related fields. UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences has an online Master of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition program and an online MPH in Public Health Practice program. Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences has an online MPH program with a concentration in Urban Health that includes a 200-hour practicum that students complete in a professional public health setting. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (MCPHS) University offers an online MPH program with a general public health curriculum and elective courses in community health, health education, and health policy design and evaluation. And Simmons University has an online MPH program with a curriculum that focuses of the promotion and advancement of equity through public health initiatives.
New York University (NYU) is one school in a nearby state that offers an online MPH program. The NYU online MPH program has a curriculum that focuses on the use of public health policies and initiatives to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. And the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College offers an online MPH program that takes two years to complete and requires students to attend a three-week campus-based session in the first and the second years of the program.
Registered Nurses (RNs) can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree online through several schools located in Massachusetts, including two schools in the UMass system. The College of Nursing at UMass Amherst offers two online MSN programs: an online MSN in Nursing Education; and an online MSN with a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) specialization. UMass Dartmouth has an online MSN program that offers two specializations: Nursing and Healthcare Education, and Global Public Health.
Fitchburg State University, Simmons University, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (MCPHS) University, and Endicott College also offer online MSN programs. Fitchburg State has an online MSN in Forensic Nursing program. Simmons offers an online MSN program with a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization. MCPHS University offers online MSN programs in two Nurse Practitioner (NP) specializations: FNP and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). And Endicott College offers a hybrid MSN in Nursing Administration program that includes online courses and some evening courses on the school’s Beverly campus.
The College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey offers online MSN programs that accept applicants from Massachusetts. Seton Hall’s programs include the following specializations: Adult-Gerontology Primary and Acute Care NP; Pediatric Primary and Acute Care NP; and Health Systems Management. RNs in Massachusetts may also want to explore to the online MSN program at New York’s Utica College, which features FNP, Nursing Leadership, and Nursing Education specializations.
Note: Online MSN programs typically require the completion of clinical hours at a site approved by the program. Massachusetts RNs who are interested in online programs offered by schools in other states should examine a program’s clinical hours requirements and contact a program administrator to ensure a suitable site can be found prior to submitting an application to the program. RNs who are considering out-of-state programs should also be aware that licensing requirements for NPs and other types of Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) vary by state. As a result, some out-of-state online MSN programs may not meet standards for licensure in Massachusetts in certain nursing fields.