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Online Master’s Degree Programs in West Virginia

There are a number of schools in West Virginia that offer online master’s degree programs in many common areas of graduate study, including business, criminal justice, computer science, education, psychology, public administration, and social work. These programs provide the same opportunities for academic and professional advancement as traditional, campus-based programs but allow students to earn a master’s degree without having to commute to a college or university campus. West Virginia residents may also be eligible for admission to many of the online master’s programs offered by out-of-state schools in a broad range of fields and disciplines.

Through an analysis of data on graduation numbers collected by the US Department of Education for its Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS), OnlineEducation.com has identified the academic fields in which master’s degrees are most commonly pursued by students in West Virginia. This page provides an overview of accredited, non-profit private and public colleges and universities in West Virginia and nearby states that offer online programs in many of these fields.

Schools Offering Online Master’s Programs in West Virginia

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission serves as the central administrative body for the state’s publicly funded four-year higher education institutions, which include two of the largest universities in the state: Marshall University and West Virginia University. Marshall is a public research university with schools of business, education, health professionals, and engineering, and graduate colleges of pharmacy and medicine. West Virginia University, the state’s flagship university, has a primary campus in Morgantown and several affiliates, including West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) in Beckley, Potomac State College of West Virginia in Keyser, and WVU Health Science Centers in Charleston and Martinsburg.

Most of the publicly funded schools in West Virginia are active in online education and many offer online degree programs, including online master’s programs. The table below lists the ten largest four-year public colleges and universities in the state based on IPEDS enrollment data, along with the location of each school’s main campus and whether or not the school offers online degree programs.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
West Virginia University (WVU)MorgantownYes
Marshall UniversityHuntingtonYes
Fairmont State UniversityFairmontYes
West Virginia State University (WVSU)InstituteYes
Shepherd UniversityShepherdstownNo
West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVU Parkersburg)ParkersburgYes
West Liberty UniversityWest LibertyYes
Concord UniversityAthensYes
Glenville State CollegeGlenvilleYes
West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech)BeckleyNo

There are also non-profit private colleges and universities in West Virginia, some of which are active in offering online degree programs. The table below provides information on the three largest of these private schools.

SchoolLocationOnline Degree Programs
University of CharlestonCharlestonYes
West Virginia Wesleyan CollegeBuckhannonNo
Wheeling Jesuit UniversityWheelingYes

Regional Out-of-State Schools That Offer Online Master’s Programs

There are numerous colleges and universities in the West Virginia region that offer online master’s programs, including several schools in the neighboring states of Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers a broad range of online programs through Penn State World Campus, including programs in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, cybersecurity, data analytics, education, engineering, finance, human resource management (HRM), nursing, psychology, and public administration. Through Mason Online, George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA, also offers numerous online master’s programs, including programs in accounting, business administration, cybersecurity, data analytics, engineering, healthcare management, psychology, social work, and teaching.

Two of the public universities in Maryland have online master’s programs that accept applicants from West Virginia. The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) offers online master’s programs in accounting, biotechnology, business administration, cybersecurity, data analytics, environmental management, healthcare administration, information technology, and teaching. Towson University has an online master’s in nursing program, as well as online master’s programs in autism studies, homeland security management, kinesiology, occupational therapy, and software engineering.

The University of Cincinnati in the neighboring state of Ohio is another school that offers online master’s programs. Among the programs offered online by the University of Cincinnati are master’s programs in athletics, business, criminal justice, education, healthcare, engineering, nursing, and pharmacy.

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

OnlineEducation.com’s analysis of graduation data collected by IPEDS indicates that the 15 most common areas of study at the master’s degree level for students at schools in West Virginia are as follows:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Education
  3. International/Global Studies
  4. Business/Commerce
  5. Educational Leadership and Administration
  6. Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
  7. History
  8. Homeland Security
  9. Psychology
  10. Public Administration
  11. Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
  12. Special Education and Teaching
  13. Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management
  14. Social Work
  15. Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance

While IPEDS subject area classifications do not align precisely with designations for actual online master’s programs, the data provides a representative overview of the fields in which West Virginia colleges and universities are conferring the greatest number of master’s degrees. Using that as a guide, the sections below provide details about online master’s programs offered by schools in West Virginia and nearby states in many of the most common areas of study.

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) Programs in West Virginia

West Virginia University (WVU) and Marshall University are the two large public schools in West Virginia that offer online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. The WVU program is offered through school’s College of Business and Economics and requires students to have at least two years of professional experience prior to enrolling. Students in the program must complete 16 courses, which can be done in two years, and they have the option of completing coursework in three specialized areas of emphasis: Energy Finance; Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination; and Integrated Marketing Communications. Marshall’s online MBA program is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in business or a graduate degree in another field plus preparatory coursework in economics, finance, marketing, and analytical methods. The program offers several specialization options online: Accounting; Management; and Military Management.

West Liberty University, the University of Charleston, and Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) are three of the accredited, non-profit private schools in West Virginia that offer MBA programs online. Through the Gary E. West College of Business at West Liberty University, students can earn an MBA online in as few as 12 months. Students in the program must complete ten courses and have the option of specializations in: Accounting; Healthcare; and Management. The University of Charlestown offers a cohort-based online MBA program that takes 16 months to complete. The program is designed for students with three or more years of professional experience and includes a ten-day study abroad practicum. The WJU online MBA program features a nine-course core of general business administration courses and requires the completion of three additional elective courses. Students who take two courses per semester can expect to graduate in two years.

West Virginia residents may want to explore online MBA programs offered by out-of-state schools, including programs offered by Penn State World Campus, the University of Maryland University Campus (UMUC), George Mason University (GMU), and the University of Cincinnati. The Penn State World Campus online MBA program features over a dozen concentration options, including: Advanced Accounting; Business Analytics; Business Sustainability Strategy; Corporate Innovations and Entrepreneurship; Marketing Analytics; Negotiation and Influence; Strategic Leadership; and Supply Chain Management. Students in the Penn State program are required to attend a five-day on-campus immersion session and as of the spring of 2020 will have the option of participating in a one-week study abroad trip.

UMUC has an online MBA program that can be completed in as few as 18 months and that provides students with all of their required readings and study materials online. The program features a sequence of six courses that must be completed within five years of starting the program. GMU’s online MBA program offers students the option of participating in a global residency that entails spending a week abroad studying foreign companies and markets, as well as with the option of earning a Business Analytics certificate in addition to their MBA degree. And the University of Cincinnati’s Lindler College of Business has an online MBA program the requires applicants to have three years of professional experience and cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, although the program will also accept applicants who have seven or more years of professional experience, CPA licensure, and/or a graduate degree in a relevant field without the GPA requirement.

Online Master’s in Education and Teaching Programs in West Virginia

There are many different types of online master’s program designed to provide teachers and other education professionals with specialized skills and training, including several programs offered by West Virginia University (WVU). Licensed teachers are eligible to apply for WVU’s online Master of Arts (MA) programs in Elementary Education and Literacy Education, both of which can be completed in two years. WVU also offers online MA programs in Higher Education Administration and Instructional Design and Technology that do not require applicants to hold a teaching certification. And WVU offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program that requires applicants to be working in the field of physical education instruction while completing their degree.

Marshall University offers three types of online master’s in education programs, including an MA in Leadership Studies with a concentration in Education Leadership (School Principal), an MS in Adult & Continuing Education program, and an MA in Education program. The online Adult & Continuing Education program features two concentrations: Adult Education and Evaluation; and Career and Technical Center Teaching. The online MA in Education program has eight concentrations: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Mathematics Specialist; Individualized Plan of Study; Instructional Processes & Strategies; Instructional Technology & Learning; Math Through Algebra I; School Library Media Specialist; and Teaching English as a Second Language.

Fairmont State University is another state school in West Virginia that offers a variety of online master’s programs in education. Fairmont State has an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program that is designed to prepare students for licensure and that requires student teaching as part of the curriculum. Fairmont State also offers three Master of Education (MEd) specializations: Digital Media, New Literacies, and Learning; Reading; and Professional Studies. The online MEd in Professional Studies program features three concentrations: Literacy; Special Education; and Digital Media and Learning.

West Virginia State University (WVSU) and Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) also offer online programs in education fields. WVSU has an online MEd in Instructional Leadership program that is designed for students who hold a professional educator license and an undergraduate degree in education or a related field. WJU has an online MA in Education Leadership program that has two tracks: School System Leadership, and Instructional Leadership.

West Virginia teachers and educators who are interested in earning a master’s in education degree online may also want to consider the programs offered by the University of Maryland University Campus (UMUC) and the University of Cincinnati. UMUC’s online offerings include a MAT program for secondary school teachers (grades 7-12) that requires students to complete a full-time, 80-day teaching internship on-site at an approved secondary school. UMUC also offers an online MS in Learning Design and Technology program, an online MEd in Instructional Technology program, and an online Master of Distance Education and E-Learning program. The University of Cincinnati offers an online MEd in Educational Leadership program with tracks in special education, early childhood education, online learning, and traditional school leadership, as well as an online MEd in Instructional Design and Technology, an online MEd in Literacy and Second Language Studies, and an online MEd in Special Education (K-12) program.

Note: West Virginia residents who are considering online master’s programs in education and teaching offered by out-of-state schools should be aware of two factors prior to submitting applications. Some online programs require students to complete supervised teaching experiences at sites approved by the program. Applicants can contact program administrators regarding potential student-teaching placements to ensure a convenient site can be found. Potential applicants to out-of-state programs should also note that teaching licensure requirements vary by state. Students interested in licensure should review state-specific requirements and speak with an admissions advisor to determine if an out-of-state program will meet those requirements.

Online Master’s in International Affairs Programs in West Virginia

While there are currently no schools in West Virginia that offer online master’s programs in international affairs, there are several schools in nearby states that have online master’s programs in this field. Troy University, an Alabama state university located in Troy, has an online Master of Science in International Relations (MSIR) program that features five core course requirements and three concentration options: Global Studies; National Security Affairs; and Regional Affairs. American University in Washington DC offers an online Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) program and an online Master of International Service (MIS) program. The MAIR program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree, while the MIS program requires students to have seven or more years of experience in the field of international relations. Both programs have five specialization options: Global Security; International Development; Social Enterprise; International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution; and United States Foreign Policy and National Security.

Online Master’s in Public Relations and Applied Communication Programs in West Virginia

There are two online programs offered by West Virginia University (WVU) that may interest those aiming to study public relations and/or applied communication at the master’s level. WVU has an online Master of Science (MS) in Integrated Marketing Communications program that features four core communication courses and numerous electives, including courses in applied public relations, public affairs, sports marketing, political marketing, and other specialized topics. WVU also offers an online MS in Data Marketing Communications (DMC) that combines coursework in marking and communication with training in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

West Virginia residents who are interested in an online master’s in public relations and/or applied communication may also want to consider the online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Strategic Communications offered by Penn State World Campus. The Penn State program features coursework in social media data collection and analysis, multimedia content development, and strategic marketing and public relations campaigns.

There are two schools in nearby Washington DC offering online master’s program in public relations: Georgetown University and The George Washington University (GWU). Georgetown offers an online MPS in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program, and GWU’s program is an online master’s in strategic public relations program.

Online Master’s in History Programs in West Virginia

Currently, there are no schools in West Virginia that offer fully online master’s programs in history. However, there are several schools in neighboring states that have online master’s in history programs, including Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU) and Western Kentucky University (WKU). The program offered by SRU is an online Master of Arts (MA) in History that features core training in historical research methods and options for specialized study through elective coursework in many areas, from ancient Greece and medieval Europe, to contemporary Russia and the modern Middle East. WKU’s program is an online MA in History program. It is designed to prepare students to teach history at the junior and senior college level, to provide secondary school teachers with advanced training, and to offer bachelor’s program graduates a pathway to pursue an eventual doctoral degree in history.

Online Master’s in Homeland Security Programs in West Virginia

There are several schools in West Virginia that offer traditional, campus-based master’s programs in homeland security and related fields of study, and there are also a number of out-of-state schools that offer online master’s in homeland security programs that accept applicants who live in West Virginia. Penn State World Campus has an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Homeland Security that covers topics in homeland security administration, policy, and strategic planning and features elective courses in agricultural biosecurity, natural disasters and disaster psychology, infrastructure protection, terrorist threats, and other areas.

Towson University in Maryland offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Integrated Homeland Security Management program that features three concentration options: Health Preparedness; Information Assurance; and Security Policy. The program features coursework in risk management, infrastructure threats, emergency communication, software security, bioterrorism, disaster response, and political violence.

West Virginia residents who are interested in studying bioterrorism and biosecurity may want to explore the online MS in Biodefense program offered by George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA. The program’s curriculum focuses on infectious diseases, global health security policy, bio-threat research methods, and other topics relevant to biodefense.

Online Master’s in Psychology Programs in West Virginia

There are currently no schools located in West Virginia that offer fully online master’s programs in psychology. However, there are two schools in the state that offer online master’s in counseling programs. West Virginia University (WVU) has an online Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling program. The program requires the completion of an in-person counseling practicum as well as a clinical practice internship that includes a one-week campus residency. The program is designed to prepare students for licensure in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. Marshall University’s College of Education and Professional Development offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling with tracks in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. Both tracks require students to complete in-person practicums in addition to online coursework.

There are several schools in nearby states that offer West Virginia residents the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in psychology online. George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA has an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology program through its College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The University of Cincinnati has an online Master of Education (MEd) in Foundations in Behavior Analysis program with an applied behavior analysis (ABA) curriculum that focuses on the application of psychological tools and methodologies in schools and child service agencies. And Ball State University in Indiana has an online MA in Educational Psychology program that offers students four options for specialization: Gifted and Talented; Human Development; Neuropsychology; and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Students in the Ball State program also have the option of customizing their specialization through elective coursework.

Note: Online master’s in psychology and counseling programs may require students to complete in-person internships and/or practicums at approved clinical sites. West Virginia residents who are considering online programs offered by out-of-state schools should research program requirements carefully and/or contact program administrators regarding clinical placements prior to submitting applications. In addition, licensure requirements for clinical counselors and other mental health professionals vary by state. All 50 states require professional psychologists to hold a doctoral degree for licensure. Clinical counselors, school counselors, and applied behavioral analysis specialists who hold a master’s degree in their field may become eligible for licensure in West Virginia provided they have met the state’s training requirements. Students should review the state’s licensing requirements prior to applying to master’s programs offered by out-of-state schools to ensure that a program’s curriculum aligns with the requirements for licensure in West Virginia.

Online Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) Programs in West Virginia

While there are no West Virginia schools currently offering online Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, West Virginia University (WVU) has an online Master of Science (MS) in Safety Management program that may be of interest to those looking to earn a degree in public administration. The WVU program features coursework in workplace safety regulations and compliance, safety and health training, and fire safety management and can be completed in two years.

West Virginia residents who would like to earn an MPA degree online may want to explore the online MPA program offered by the University of Baltimore in Maryland. All of the program’s didactic coursework is offered online. However, the program does require students who do not have prior work experience in the public sector to complete an internship at a site approved by the program. Students in the University of Baltimore online MPA program can choose from among six public administration specializations: Budgeting & Fiscal Administration; Global Affairs & Human Security; Health Care Policy & Administration; Negotiations & Conflict Management; Public Policy & Administration; and Public & Nonprofit Management.

Penn State World Campus, the online adjunct of The Pennsylvania State University, also offers an online MPA program that admits applicants from West Virginia. The program requires students who do not have at least two years of relevant public sector work experience to complete a 300-hour internship at a site approved by the program. Students in the program take six core courses, five electives, and complete a master’s project prior to receiving their degree.

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs in West Virginia

Fairmont State University, Marshall University, and West Liberty University are three schools in West Virginia that offer online master’s programs in criminal justice. The online Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice program offered by Fairmont State University has a thesis track and a capstone track and flexible enrollment: full-time students may be able to graduate from the program in as few as 24 months, but students may take up to seven years to complete the program on a part-time basis. The School of Forensic & Criminal Justice Science at Marshall University offers an online MS in Criminal Justice program that gives students the option of completing a master’s thesis or a capstone project and that can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment. And West Liberty University offers an online MS in Criminology program that has two concentrations: Law Enforcement; and Corrections/Courts.

Residents of West Virginia can also earn a master’s in criminal justice degree online through programs offered by the University of Cincinnati and Penn State World Campus. The University of Cincinnati has an online MS in Criminal Justice program that can be completed in two years of part-time study, or one year of full-time enrollment. The program has three concentrations: Analysis of Criminal Behavior; Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention; and Corrections and Offender Rehabilitation. Penn State World Campus offers an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration program that features six core course requirements and allows students to choose three additional elective courses in topics like police administration, public organization and management, and public policy analysis.

Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs in West Virginia

There are two West Virginia schools that offer online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs: West Virginia University (WVU) and Concord University. WVU’s online MSW program has a general practice curriculum that includes coursework in clinical and macro social work. It is a part-time program that can be completed in three years and it has a two-year Advanced Standing track that is open to students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program offered by Concord University has general practice curriculum with a focus on social work in rural settings. The program has an Advanced Standing track that can be completed in two years, as well as a traditional track that allows students to take up to four years to complete their degree.

Outside of West Virginia there are several schools in nearby states that offer online MSW programs, including two schools in Kentucky. The University of Kentucky in Lexington has an online MSW program with a clinical practice curriculum that can be completed in three years of part-time enrollment by students who do not hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program and in two years by students who qualify for the program’s Advanced Standing track. The University of Louisville offers an online Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program with six options for specialization: Mental Health; Gerontology; Psychosocial Oncology; Alcohol and Drug Counseling; Forensic Social Work; and Military Social Work. Students who do not hold a BSW degree can complete the program in two to four years; students who qualify for the Advanced Standing track typically graduate from the program in two years.

Note: Online master’s in social work programs require students to complete in-person field education hours at an agency or site approved by the program. It is thus advisable to contact a program administrator regarding field placements prior to applying to an online program, particularly if that program is offered by a school outside of West Virginia. Potential applicants should also be aware that licensing requirements for clinical social workers vary by state. Applicants to out-of-state programs who intend to apply for licensure in West Virginia should familiarize themselves with the state’s licensure requirements and speak with an admissions advisor prior to choosing a program offered by an out-of-state school.

Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Programs in West Virginia

West Virginia University (WVU) and the University of Charleston offer online master’s programs in cybersecurity. The WVU program is an online Master of Science (MS) in Business Cybersecurity Management program. Offered through WVU’s College of Business and Economics, it features coursework in business intelligence systems, data communication and management, information assurance, network security, and the detection and prevention of cybercrime. The University of Charleston has an online Master of Science in Cyber Security (MSCS) program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in business, information technology, or a related field. The program’s curriculum focuses on cyber operations management, strategic investments in cybersecurity, and enterprise IT planning and security.

West Virginia residents may also want to explore the online master’s in cybersecurity programs offered by the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). UMUC has three online master’s programs in cybersecurity fields, including online MS programs in: Cybersecurity Management and Policy; Cybersecurity Technology; and Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation. The Cybersecurity Management and Policy program focuses on compliance issues, risk analysis, and the implementation of strategic cybersecurity plans for organizations in the public and private sectors. The Cybersecurity Technology program includes coursework in cyber attack methodologies and defense strategies. And the Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation program provides training in analyzing and responding to cyber attacks.