Pennsylvania residents have numerous options for earning a master’s degree online through regionally accredited, non-profit public and private colleges and universities located within the commonwealth. There are schools in Pennsylvania that offer online master’s programs in accounting, finance, business administration, social work, education, counseling, nursing, information technology, public administration, and other fields. There are also numerous colleges and universities outside of Pennsylvania that offer online master’s programs in a variety of fields, many of which admit applicants from Pennsylvania.
OnlineEducation.com researches online degree programs and, through an analysis of data gathered by the US Department of Education for its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we have identified the areas of study in which the largest number of master’s degrees are conferred in Pennsylvania. This page provides an overview of online master’s degree programs offered by schools in Pennsylvania and nearby states in many of these common areas of study.
Pennsylvania is unique among the states in that its system of publicly funded schools includes a group of four universities that are run as private/public partnerships. The Commonwealth System of Higher Education, as it is known, includes Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Pennsylvania State University, the latter of which has numerous campuses throughout the state and ranks as the largest university in Pennsylvania by student enrollment and one of the largest degree-granting institutions in the country.
In addition to the Commonwealth System, the state administers and funds the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The PASSHE system of public institutions encompasses 14 schools, including West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, and California University of Pennsylvania.
Many of the schools in in the Commonwealth System and the Pennsylvania State System are active in offering online degree programs. In fact, PASSHE maintains a searchable database of online degree programs offered by its member schools at PA Universities Online.
Drawn from IPEDS enrollment data, the table below lists Pennsylvania’s 15 largest publicly funded and state affiliated schools that grant bachelor’s and graduate degrees and provides details on each school’s location and whether or not it offers online master’s degree programs.
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)||University Park||Yes|
|Temple University (Temple)||Philadelphia||Yes|
|University of Pittsburgh (Pitt)||Pittsburg||Yes|
|West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCUPA)||West Chester||Yes|
|Indiana University of Pennsylvania||Indiana||Yes|
|Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||Bloomsburg||Yes|
|Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU)||Slippery Rock||Yes|
|Kutztown University of Pennsylvania||Kutztown||Yes|
|Millersville University of Pennsylvania||Millersville||Yes|
|California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U)||California||Yes|
|Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania||Shippensburg||Yes|
|East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania||East Stroudsburg||Yes|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro||Yes|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn Tech)||Williamsport||No|
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion||Yes|
There are also a large number of private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that offer graduate degree programs, including schools that offer online master’s programs. The table below contains information on the ten largest private schools in the state, based on IPEDS enrollment data.
|School||Location||Online Degree Programs|
|University of Pennsylvania||University City||Yes|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh||Yes|
|Villanova University||Radnor Township||Yes|
|Saint Joseph's University||Philadelphia||Yes|
|University of Scranton||Scranton||Yes|
In addition to the public and private schools in Pennsylvania that offer online master’s degree programs, there are many colleges and universities in other states that offer online programs. These include several prominent schools in neighboring and regional states, such as Johns Hopkins University, Utica College, American University, Ohio University, and Syracuse University. Most online master’s programs offered by out-of-state schools admit applicants from Pennsylvania, although there may be some exceptions.
Johns Hopkins University has its main campus in Baltimore and an additional campus in Washington DC. The university offers online master’s programs through its Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Carey School of Business, Whiting School of Engineering, and Bloomberg School of Health, as well as its Schools of Education, Medicine, and Engineering. American University, which has its main campus in Washington DC, offers online master’s degree programs in economics, communication, public administration, healthcare management, education, and other fields.
Located in the Mohawk Valley of New York, Utica College offers online master’s programs in business administration, healthcare administration, data science, cybersecurity, and a number of other specialized fields. Syracuse University is another private, non-profit school located in New York that offers online degree programs, including online Master of Science (MS) degree programs in Applied Data Science, Information Management, and Library and Information Science. And Ohio University, a public research university in Athens, OH, offers online master’s programs in business, communication, education, engineering, healthcare, and public administration.
Based on an analysis of IPEDS graduation data, OnlineEducation.com has identified the 15 most common areas for training and instruction at the master’s degree level in Pennsylvania. While IPEDS categories do not align precisely with specific types of online master’s programs, the list below provides an overview of the general areas of study in which master’s degrees are most commonly conferred in Pennsylvania.
Each of the sections below provides details on schools in Pennsylvania and regional schools that offer online master’s programs in fields corresponding to the areas of study listed above.
There are many options for earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree online from public and private universities in Pennsylvania. West Chester University of Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania are four of the PASSHE schools that offer online MBA programs. West Chester’s online MBA program has flexible enrollment, which allows part-time students to complete the degree in two years by taking one course at a time, while full-time students may be able to graduate in just one year. Cal U’s program has a similar structure, allowing part-time students to complete the program in two years and full-time students to graduate in one year. The Shippensburg online MBA has eight-week terms and is designed for students to take two courses per term for two years. Clarion has six types of MBA programs that it offers online: a general MBA program and MBA programs with concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Healthcare, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Non-Profit Business.
The Fox School of Business at Temple University offers a flexible online MBA program that allows students to take courses at their own pace as long as they complete the program requirements in six years. The program can be completed in a few as 20 months.
Drexel University, Villanova University, Lehigh University, Widener University, and The University of Scranton are some of the private universities that offer online MBA programs in Pennsylvania. The Drexel program is structured to allow students complete the degree in as few as 18 months or to take up to five years to graduate. Villanova’s School of Business has an online MBA program that is designed to be completed in two years and that features a Social Enterprise Consulting Practicum and an optional seven-day international immersion capstone that gives students the opportunity to visit companies in an emerging economy.
Lehigh’s Flex MBA is offered online and on campus and features concentrations in Corporate Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Marketing, Project Management, and Supply Chain Management. And The University of Scranton offers an online MBA program that is designed for students with at least three years of professional experience. It can be completed in two years of part-time enrollment and features specializations in Accounting, Enterprise Resource Planning, Healthcare Management, Human Resources, International Business, and Operations Management.
Pennsylvania residents may also want to explore out-of-state options for earning an MBA online. Johns Hopkins University offers a flexible MBA program that allows students to enroll in courses online or on campus and take between three and six years to graudate. It features concentrations in Financial Business, Healthcare Management, and Leading Organizations. Utica College’s MBA program also offers students the option of taking all their courses online or blending online coursework with some campus-based classes. The Utica program has seven specializations: Finance/Accounting; Insurance & Risk Management; Cybersecurity; Cyber Policy; Data Analytics; Entrepreneurship; and Healthcare Management. And Ohio University offers an online MBA program that breaks each semester into seven-week terms, during which students take one course at a time for the equivalent of six semesters, or two to three years. It has seven concentrations: Healthcare; Executive Management; Business Analytics; Operations & Supply Chain Management; Accounting; and Strategic Sales & Sales Leadership.
There are several schools in Pennsylvania that offer online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, including Temple University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and Widener University. The online MSW program offered by Temple takes three years of part-time enrollment to complete and includes tracks in clinical and macro practice social work, as well as concentrations in mental health, and child and family social work.
Edinboro’s online MSW program is designed to provide students with general advanced training in social work. It has an Advanced Standing track for graduates from Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs that takes one year to complete, and a two-year completion plan for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work.
Widener’s online MSW program has a trauma-focused clinical social work curriculum that is designed to prepare students for licensure and tracks for Advanced Standing students and for students who hold a non-social work bachelor’s degree. BSW graduates can complete the Widener program in two years, while students on the traditional track generally take three years to graduate.
Note: Field education is an integral component of online MSW programs. Students in online programs typically complete field education hours in person at a site approved by the program. Applicants to online MSW programs should also be aware that licensing requirements for clinical social workers vary by state. Prior to submitting an application to an out-of-state online MSW program, Pennsylvania residents should make sure the program accepts applicants from Pennsylvania, that a convenient location for field work placements can be found, and that the program curriculum meets Pennsylvania’s licensure requirements.
There are a broad range of specialized Master of Education (MEd) programs offered online by many of the colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. These programs provide career advancement opportunities and specialized training for teachers who have already met Pennsylvania teacher certification eligibility requirements, although some MEd programs may provide the necessary training for additional certifications.
The School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) offers four MEd programs online, including programs that provide training in Elementary Education, English & Communications, Mathematics Education, and Social Studies Education. West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers online MEd programs in Special Education and in Early Childhood Education. Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers an online MEd in Mathematics Education program that meets the requirements for Instructional Level II certification in Pennsylvania, although it does not prepare students for Level I certification.
Slippery Rock University (SRU), California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), and Millersville University of Pennsylvania are three of the other state schools that offer online master’s programs in education. SRU’s offerings include online MEd programs in Elementary Education (K-8 Math/Science); Elementary Education (K-12 Reading Specialist); Secondary Education (Math/Science); Secondary Education (English); Secondary Education (History); Special Education (Autism); Special Education (Grades 7-12); Special Education (Birth-Grade 8); and Special Education (Supervision).
CAL U offers more than a dozen MEd programs online, including an Administrative Program for Principals and programs with specializations in: Advanced Studies in Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership; Early Childhood Education; Educational Leadership; Elementary Education (PreK-4); English as a Second Language; and Reading Specialist. And Millersville offers an online MEd in Assessment, Curriculum, & Teaching with tracks for Online Teaching and STEM Education, as well as online MEd programs in Special Education and Gifted Education.
Teachers in Pennsylvania can earn online master’s in education degrees from several private universities in the state. Drexel offers an online MS in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum with a specialization in PreK-4 Education that has a pathway for students to qualify for teacher certification in Pennsylvania. Duquesne University offers online MS in Education programs with specializations in Higher Education Administration and Instructional Technology. And Widener offers three types of MEd programs online: Educational Foundations; Instructional Technology; and Allied Health Education.
Johns Hopkins and Ohio University of two regional schools in other states that offer master’s training for teachers and educators online. Pennsylvania teachers who are certified to teach at any level, P-12, may be interested in Ohio University’s online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (Advanced). And the School of Education at Johns Hopkins offers the following online master’s programs: MS in Educational Studies; MS in Education, Digital Age Learning, and Instructional Technology; and MS in Educational Studies (Teach for America).
Note: Due to teaching certification requirements, which vary by state, some out-of-state online master’s in education programs may not admit students from Pennsylvania. Students from Pennsylvania who aim to qualify for state teacher certification after completing an online master’s program should examine Pennsylvania certification requirements carefully to ensure an online master’s program curriculum aligns with Pennsylvania criteria for teacher training.
California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania are three schools in Pennsylvania that offer online master’s in counseling degree programs. The MS in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling offered online by Cal U is designed to prepare students for eventual licensure in clinical counseling. Students enrolled full-time can complete the program in two years and there are part-time enrollment options as well. The program includes 750 hours of practicum and clinical fieldwork. Edinboro offers an MA in Counseling with several tracks for online students: Art Therapy, College Counseling, and School Counseling. And Clarion offers an online MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that meets requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) certification in Pennsylvania.
There are schools in other states that offer online master’s in counseling programs, including St. Bonaventure University in Allegheny, NY, and Malone University in Canton, OH. St. Bonaventure offers an online MS in Education Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an online MS in Education School Counseling. Both programs include clinical internships. Malone University offers an MA in Education in Counseling & Human Development that has an online track in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Note: Online master’s in counseling programs typically include internships, which require students to be present in person at a site approved by the program for a certain number of supervised clinical hours. Prospective applicants to out-of-state online master’s in counseling programs should speak with a program advisor to determine the process for completing internship requirements prior to applying. It is also important to consider state licensing requirements for various types of counselors, including clinical mental health counselors, school counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Pennsylvania residents who are considering online master’s in counseling programs offered by out-of-state schools should examine state licensing requirement prior to submitting an application in order to determine whether or not a particular program meets Pennsylvania licensing requirements for counselor education and training.
In state options for earning a master’s degree in accounting online include programs offered by Clarion University of Pennsylvania and The University of Scranton. Clarion’s MS in Accounting is designed to provide students with the academic training requirements for licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Pennsylvania. Applicants to the Clarion program are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting or to have completed several undergraduate prerequisites in accounting. Scranton’s online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree program is designed to fulfill the coursework requirements for CPA licensure and it features a bridge program of introductory courses for students who do not hold a bachelor’s in accounting degree. CPAs who are looking to gain advanced training in tax law may be interested in Villanova’s online Master of Taxation program, which can be completed in two years of part-time enrollment.
There are also online master’s in accounting and related fields offered by schools in nearby states, such as Ohio University, which has two programs: an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that is 100% online and requires full-time enrollment, and a Professional Master of Accountancy (PMAcc) program that is part-time but that does include some campus-based classes. Experienced accountants may be interested in exploring Utica College’s online Executive Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management. The program is designed to be completed in two years of part-time enrollment and requires applicants to have at least three years of experience working in accounting, auditing, financial investigation, or a related field.
Note: Pennsylvania residents who are considering online master’s in accounting programs offered by out-of-state schools should be aware that eligibility requirements for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure vary by state. While a master’s in accounting is not required for CPA licensure, Pennsylvania residents who plan to apply for licensure after completing a master’s degree should examine the program’s curriculum carefully to determine whether or not it meets state CPA requirements.
Carnegie Mellon University is one of the schools in Pennsylvania that offers an online Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program. The Carnegie Mellon MSIT program provides online students with four optional concentrations: Information Technology Management; Business Intelligence & Data Analytics; Information Security & Assurance; and Software Design & Management. The Carnegie Mellon program is designed for students who have a significant amount of prior professional experience, typically at least three years.
Drexel University offers an online MS in Information Systems that does not require applicants to have prior professional experience in the field. It has flexible enrollment options that allow students to take one, two, or three courses per ten-week quarter.
Syracuse University offers two online master’s programs in the field of information technology through its School of Information Studies (iSchool@Syracuse). The iSchool offers an online MS in Information Management that focuses on information technologies, organizational psychology, human-computer interactions, and the challenges of managing an organization’s technology systems. The iSchool also offers an online MS in Library and Information Science that focuses on the skills required to manage information systems in institutional settings, including schools, libraries, museums, government agencies, and corporations.
Registered Nurses (RNs) in Pennsylvania can gain advanced skills and proficiencies though a number of different types of Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs that are offered online by schools within the state. California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania are among the public universities that offer online MSN programs. The program offered by Cal U provides specialized training in Nursing Administration & Leadership, and the Indiana University program has tracks in nursing administration and nursing education. Indiana University’s Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions has an online MS in Health Services Administration, and a mostly online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) MSN program that requires students to attend a limited number of skill labs on campus. For RNs who already hold an MSN degree but who would like to add an FNP specialization, Clarion also offers an online FNP post-graduate certificate program.
Three of the private school options for earning an MSN online in Pennsylvania are Drexel University, Duquesne University, and Wilkes University. Drexel has a program that provides online students with a range of specializations, including Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Clinical Trial Research, Nursing Innovation, Leadership in Health Systems Management, Nursing Education, and Quality, Safety, & Risk Management in Healthcare. Drexel offers an online MSN programs with several NP specializations: FNP, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (AGACNP), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (AGPCNP), Pediatric Acute Care (PACNP), Pediatric Primary Care (PPCNP). Psychiatric Mental Health (PMHNP), and Women’s Health (WHNP). Duquesne’s online MSN program features an FNP specialization, as well as tracks in Forensic Nursing and Nursing Education. And Wilkes offers an online MSN program with concentrations in Nursing Informatics, Nurse Executive, Nursing Education, and several NP specializations (AGPCNP, FNP, and PMHNP).
RNs interested in exploring out-of-state programs may be interested in Sacred Heart University’s online MSN program, which has four specializations: CNL, FNP, Nursing Education, and Nursing Management & Executive Leadership. Sacred Heart University is located in Fairfield, CT. Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, offers an online MSN in Health Systems Management with a specialization in Case Management program that can be completed online in an average of two years, and that can be combined with an online MBA program for a dual degree that takes three years to complete.
Note: Applicants to MSN programs typically must hold a valid and unencumbered state issued RN license. Prior to submitting and application to an out-of-state online program, RNs licensed in Pennsylvania should check to make sure the program accepts candidates from Pennsylvania. Most online MSN programs require students to complete clinical hours in person at a site approved by the program. Applicants should make sure that a convenient site to complete clinical hours is available prior to submitting an application.
The University of Scranton offers an online MS in Finance through its Kania School of Management. Full-time students may be able to complete the program in 12 months, and most students can graduate in two years of part-time enrollment. Also in Pennsylvania, the American College of Financial Services, an accredited, non-profit private school located in Bryn Mawr, has an online MS in Financial Services degree program that requires students to attend two campus sessions. The program has two concentrations: Retirement Planning and Legacy Planning.
Outside of Pennsylvania, Ohio University and Johns Hopkins University are two schools that offer online master’s programs in finance and related areas. Ohio University offers an online Master of Financial Economics (MFE) degree program that takes full-time students an average of two years to complete. Johns Hopkins offers online MS programs in Finance and in Financial Mathematics. The MS in Finance program focuses on advanced financial management skills and takes one year of full-time enrollment and two years of part-time enrollment to complete. The MS in Financial Mathematics focuses on advanced quantitative skills and their application to financial management. It requires two years of prior work experience in finance or a related field.
Pennsylvania residents who want master’s training for work in government and public sector organizations can choose from several online Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs offered by in-state schools. West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers an online MPA program that gives students the option of pursuing graduate certifications in Urban and Regional Planning, Industrial Psychology, Healthcare Management, Emergency Preparedness, Human Resource Management, Project Management, Sports Management, and Healthcare Management. Villanova University offers an online MPA program that has specializations in Nonprofit Management and City Management.
For Pennsylvania residents interested in exploring options for earning a master’s degree in public administration online from an out-of-state school, American University offers an online Master of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) program that can be completed in two years and that includes a Policy Practicum.