Top 10 Online Master of Education Programs

best online masters of education degree

It’s not easy to find the top-notch online master of education programs. We know, because we looked, too. A lot of lists you find online seem to assume that a MEd. is basically the same thing as a master of arts in teaching—this isn’t one of those lists.

You’re here because, probably, you’re already a teacher (or at least licensed to be one), and you want to:

  1. Give your students every possible advantage.
  2. Adapt the latest research into your curriculum.
  3. Specialize, get an endorsement, or go into administration.
  4. Move up the payscale.

You don’t have to move across the country to get your master of education. There are countless online master’s in teaching degree programs that can land you the credentials and expertise you need to start your career. To help you sort through them all, we’ve used data from The National Center for Education Statistics and the average ratings from school-ranking entities like,, AffordableCollegesOnline,, and—so this list of the top 10 online master of education programs is the best of the best.

We’ll show you each school’s:

  • Tuition cost
  • Program length
  • Graduation rates
  • Accreditation
  • Awards and accolades
  • Anything else we think will help you decide

Let’s find a school you’ll love! For starters, here are a couple highlights:

Most affordable

Most teachers aren’t millionaires. If you want a quality education on a budget, you might want to take a look at #8 on our list, Capella University. Their tuition is several thousand dollars lower than the next most affordable school.

Although to be fair, this really depends on how ambitious you are.

Walden University (#3 on our list) has an MEd. program that’s designed to be completed in 12 months, so the $12,000 per year tuition is . . . well, your whole tuition.

Highest graduation rate

Maybe you just want the credentials. Or you want to make sure that if you’re spending any money, it’s going to pay off in the end. That’s more than OK.

Shockingly, one of the most prestigious schools on this list, Johns Hopkins University, has the highest graduation rate—92%. JHU is #7 on our list. It’s not cheap, but you’ll get an incredible education, and nine out of ten people who go there actually graduate.

If you want something a little more affordable that still has a great graduation rate, University of Georgia (#9) is a great choice as well.

Now, onto the top ten!

1. Liberty University

Image source: Liberty University

Tuition cost: about $21,000 per year

Program length: 36 total credit hours

Graduation rate: 51%


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 5
  • Rank on AffordableCollegesOnline: 10

Liberty University’s master of education program prepares you for leadership roles in public, private, and Christian school systems. You can earn an endorsement through the state of Virginia for administration and supervision, a math specialist endorsement, or a reading specialist endorsement. If you’re not from Virginia, you’ll want to choose classes that meet the requirements of your state department of education.

Here’s how one student described that process:

“Because Liberty’s degree plan allowed me to choose a lot of my courses, I looked up those required to fill a curriculum and instruction degree [in Pennsylvania] and took the Liberty courses most closely related to those. I sent all my coursework and course descriptions to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, took the state Praxis exam—and waited. I finally got that beautiful piece of blue paper with the gold seal in the mail! They are not requiring any additional classes. Liberty did it all!”

This program isn’t 100% online. The classes are eight weeks long, and three weeks of that are on-campus intensive classes. These intensives usually occur during the summer and winter to align with teachers’ schedules. You’ll complete pre-coursework online and post-coursework online. Liberty University partners with hotels (and in some cases, campus housing) and helps you coordinate transportation to and from the intensives.

Liberty University is the world’s largest Christian university. At the moment, none of the courses in the master of education program are explicitly Christian, but you may find that your professors approach topics from a conservative evangelical perspective. Here’s a look at their School of Education:

And here’s what an online education with Liberty University could look like for you:

Liberty University Online students have access to:

  • An assigned academic advisor
  • An online writing center
  • Free 24/7 access to online tutors
  • A private Facebook community for networking with peers
  • Online ministries

2. Kaplan University

Image source: SCHEMMER

Tuition cost: $385 per credit

Program length: about 2 years

Graduation rate: 22%–40% depending on the campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 2
  • Rank on 9

Kaplan University’s online master of science in education program is intended to help current and former teachers gain the credentials they need to climb the payscale, and the expertise they need to help their students succeed. (If you seek the former, you’ll need to look at the requirements of both your state department of education and your district.)

Here’s what Kaplan University says about their online program:

“Our Master of Science in Education curriculum is designed for P–12 teachers in which you will have the power to influence, motivate, and empower future generations. Through sustained learning, job-embedded activities, collegial discussions, and engaging follow-up, you will acquire knowledge and practical teaching skills that can have a positive impact on student achievement.

“The program is an advanced teacher preparation program created for trained teachers—with a consistent group of learners—who want to improve their teaching skills, increase their professional marketability, and pursue career advancement in areas such as teacher leadership, professional development, or mentoring.”

The program is designed to accommodate the already busy lives of teachers, so you can complete it at your own pace, on your own schedule, from wherever you have Internet access.

Kaplan University’s program involves evaluating and improving your current practices as a teacher, utilizing the latest research and theories to help your students perform better in the classroom.

You’ll explore the “reflective-decision maker” model and navigate various approaches to classroom management and discipline. You’ll also design a curriculum based on a combination of your local and national requirements, and complete a capstone course in which you implement the methodologies you’ve learned in your online coursework.

You can choose one of three concentrations:

  • Language and literacy
  • Teaching students with special needs
  • Educational leadership

The language and literacy concentration and the teaching students with special needs concentration are for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. The educational leadership concentration is designed for those who want to go into administration.

This program does not lead to initial teaching certifications. Students are expected to already have those.

3. Walden University

Image source: Grad Reports

Tuition cost: about $12,000 per year

Program length: as little as 12 months

Graduation rate: 11%


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 10

Walden University wants to help you “shape young lives, improve student outcomes, and stay at the forefront of your field through our online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) program.”

Their program is best-suited to current teachers—if you don’t have access to your own classroom, you’ll need to get that figured out before you start at WU. Some of your assignments will require you to have consistent classroom access, and you won’t be given alternative assignments if you don’t have access.

“This online master’s program is focused on enhancing educator effectiveness and student success. MSEd coursework explores beliefs and behaviors that contribute to a higher level of teacher performance, cultural and linguistic diversity, and the skills needed to adapt to various learning and language styles. Gain insight into building a supportive learning community that motivates and engages students. You can also learn how teachers can leverage data assessment to be instructional leaders.”

Walden University helps you blend a reliance on data with a personal approach to every student, addressing their unique needs against the backdrop of what actually produces results.

Walden University’s MSed program offers 17 specializations, six of which are available in an accelerated format that can be completed in as little as 12 months, for as low as $10,000.

Here are the 17 specializations WU offers for MSed students:

Note: you probably noticed Walden University’s staggeringly low graduation rate. Since they’re a distance-learning institution, you can expect that the vast majority of their students (like you) may be busier than most on-campus students, and as a result they may simply be taking longer to graduate (which would mean they don’t “count” towards the graduation rate).

That being said, this is still a very competitive school.

4. Arizona State University

Image source: Arizona State University

Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $10,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $26,000 per year

Program length: about two years

Graduation rate: 67%

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 6
  • Rank on 8

ASU Online’s master in educational leadership program is ideal for those wishing to go into administration.

Here’s how they describe it:

“This rigorous, standards-based leadership preparation program provides you with the knowledge and expertise to become a transformative administrator or teacher leader with deep and unwavering commitment to providing excellent and equitable educational opportunities for all students.”

This program equips you with the skills to:

  • Facilitate school-level, systemic change
  • Create and sustain a culture of innovation and collaboration
  • Successfully lead curriculum development
  • Interpret and use data to support student success
  • Provide effective feedback, support and evaluation for teachers
  • Build a community network of support for your students and school
  • Ensure equitable and excellent educational opportunities and support for all students”

You can complete this program online, with “lab-work” in your own classroom or an approved school placement.

“The two-year Online Pathway allows you to complete your coursework online and gain the field experiences required to attain principal certification. If you are not currently employed in a school-based position, you must have ongoing access over the course of the program to an ASU- and district-approved school placement that will serve as a laboratory of practice for applying the concepts, principles and leadership approaches learned through your coursework.”

To be eligible for this program, you must have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of pre-K through 12th grade teaching experience.

In this video, ASU’s professors share what makes their online programs so appealing—and if you ask me, it’s one of the best pitches for attending class online, period:

Basically, it’s way easier to participate in class discussions (that one guy you know won’t dominate the conversation), and online students actually perform in the industry as well as on-campus students.

Note: If you’re not a resident of Arizona, you’ll want to see ASU’s state regulatory authorizations page.

5. Drexel University

Image source: Drexel University

Tuition cost: about $51,000 per year (-25% for online students)

Program length: 45 credit hours

Graduation rate: 70%

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 5
  • Rank on 10

Drexel University offers four unique online master of science in education programs.

For administrators:

Master of science in higher education: This program explores the evolution of higher education models from the colonial era to modern times, showcasing how today’s virtual models have equipped educational organizations around the globe. You’ll learn about the relationships between institutions and the communities they serve, and acquire the skills and expertise you need to manage complex administrations. This is for students who want to pursue a career in administration in higher education.

Master of science in educational administration: This program is for those who want to go into administration at the elementary or secondary level. You’ll be equipped to mentor teachers and coach them with practical skills and proven leadership methods.

For teachers:

Master of science in education improvement and transformation: This program is designed for teachers who want to help their students adapt to the ways technology and education are evolving. You can choose from 12 specializations, including a “custom” specialization that leds you decide exactly what area you want to grow.

Master of science in special education: For teachers who want to help their students with special needs succeed, this program offers five specializations:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Collaborative special education law and process
  • Multisensory reading instruction level 1
  • Technologies for special education
  • Custom (for those who already have a special education certification)

The curriculum for this program includes the coursework you need to earn your PA Instructional 1 Special Education PreK-8 or 7-12 (as long as you already have a PA Instructional 1 or Instructional 2 teaching certificate in a corresponding area).

With the exception of the MS in educational administration, each of these programs offers additional concentrations.

DU’s School of Education has an online “open house” if you want to see what online learning at Drexel is like. The open house concludes with a Q & A session with a program manager.

Here’s what a graduate of DU’s master of science in higher education program had to say about his experience as an online student:

Note: Drexel University’s tuition is extremely high, but online students pay 25% less than on-campus students.

6. University of Massachusetts Online

Image source: University of Massachusetts

Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $15,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $32,000 per year

Program length: 30–37 credits (about two years)

Graduation rate: 76%


  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 1

If you want a highly specialized education, UMass Online could be for you. UMass Online offers 10 master of education programs, including:

For teachers:

For counselors:


Some of these programs can be completed entirely online, and some will require field experience. The “other” M.Ed programs are for those who wish to teach adults (although the “orientation and mobility” program allows you to teach both children and adults).

To help you get a feel for what it might be like to be a student at UMass Online, they’ve prepared a six minute course demo for you.

Note: As of the time we wrote this post, if you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, or Minnesota, UMass Online will NOT accept you into some of these programs. If you’re in one of these states, click on your desired program and scroll to the bottom of the page to see if this applies.

7. Johns Hopkins University

Image source: Veritas

Tuition cost: about $50,000 per year

Program length: 36 credits

Graduation rate: 92%

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 1

The prestigious Johns Hopkins University offers two fully-online master in education programs:

Here’s what JHU says about the MSEd. with a concentration in technology program:

“This online Master of Science (MS) in Education concentration prepares educators and related professionals to use a broad range of technologies in their multiple roles as teacher, mentor, facilitator, researcher, change agent, and leader. The program is aligned with National Education Technology Standards for educational technology from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), as well as learning theories from the National Academies of Science’s initiatives on the new science of learning. The knowledge base within the Technology for Educators program comes from both existing and emerging methods for effective technology training and effective leadership including policy, practice, research, wisdom, theory, culturally responsive education, and legislation. The courses involve project based learning and collaborative planning. Candidates gain competencies in instructional leadership, instructional and assistive technologies, systems change, data driven decision-making, and Universal Design for Learning.”

The master of education in the health professions degree is a collaborative program shared by the colleges of business, education, medicine, nursing, and public health. This means you’ll have interdisciplinary instructors from each of these colleges.

Here’s a sample of what a session in the online MEHP program could look like:

To enroll at Johns Hopkins University, you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

8. Capella University

Image source: PLEXUSS

Tuition cost: about $7,000 per year (with the “flexpath” program and three quarters per year)

Program length: time to complete varies based on “path” choice (46 credit hours)

Graduation rate: Not available (insufficient data)

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 1

Capella University’s master of education degree is fully online. There doesn’t appear to be any field work, or a requirement that you have your own classroom.

Here’s what they say about the program:

“Becoming an exceptional teacher and innovator in your school district doesn’t happen overnight. Thankfully, our online Master of Education (MEd) program can help you get there. The coursework provides you with a deep understanding of curriculum assessment innovations, pedagogical methods, technology integration, and cultural competency.”

Additionally, the courses you’ll take here are immediately applicable to your role as a teacher, so if you do have a class of your own, they’ll start to benefit right away.

Capella University has a unique online learning format: there are two paths to your degree, and you can take a quiz to learn which path is best for your schedule.

The “guided path” gives you more direction and lets you take 1-3 classes every 10 weeks. You’ll have weekly assignments and classroom discussions, and the price you pay is based on the number of credits you take. To choose the “guided path” you need a bachelor’s degree and a 2.3 cumulative GPA.

The “flexpath” lets you take unlimited courses over a 12 week period—you just have to complete the courses you sign up for before you can take on more. You can have a maximum of two simultaneous courses. This path skips the deadlines and classroom discussions: you completely set the pace. This path costs $2,300 per quarter. In order to choose the “flexpath” option, you need a bachelor’s degree (or five years of relevant experience) and a 3.0 GPA.

You can also choose a “combined degree option” that simultaneously earns credits towards your bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Fun fact: You can transfer up to 20 credits, which is about 40% of your degree!

Note: This program does not lead to license, endorsement, or other professional credential. Kentucky residents are not eligible for certification, endorsement, rank change, licensure, renewal, etc. by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.

9. University of Georgia

Image source: Admit See

Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $12,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $30,000 per year

Program length: 34–37 credit hours

Graduation rate: 85%


  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 2
  • Rank on U.S. News and World Report: 6

University of Georgia offers six online MEd. degree programs:

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you must take the GRE or MAT. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll also need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6-3.0 from your undergraduate studies, and possibly as many as three years of relevant work experience.

Here’s what UGA says about their online program:

“As a University of Georgia graduate, you earn a degree from a top public research university. UGA offers a growing number of top-ranked online graduate degrees, certificates and undergraduate programs. Our highly respected programs are taught by some of the brightest minds in their fields.”

You can hear directly from former students and faculty on their hub for online learning.

10. Concordia University of Portland

Image source: Concordia University of Portland

Tuition cost: about $29,000 per year

Program length: one year (or 2+ years for an online/on-campus hybrid program)

Graduation rate: 44%

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Concordia University of Portland offers three fully-online MEd. degree programs:

The MEd. in curriculum and instruction has 18 concentrations, and you can even select two concentrations through the dual concentration degree program.

Here’s what they say you’ll be able to do when you finish one of their MEd. programs:

“As a graduate of the Master of Education program at Concordia University–Portland, candidates will engage in inquiry learning that fosters critical thinking skills; the capacity to ask, reflect on, and critique quality questions about content knowledge; and pursue student-driven interests. Candidates will be able to analyze and synthesize diverse opinions, readings and content to reach logical and defensible conclusions that can inform practice. To support this work, as a program, we maintain high expectations for standards of academic excellence and pursuit of knowledge.”

There are a few ways Concordia University of Portland keeps its curriculum up-to-date and relevant:

“All of our MEd faculty have a background in education– they’re either currently teachers or administrators or have previously worked in these roles. Professional development opportunities and weekly development meetings keep faculty aligned and current regarding best practices. Courses are updated every 12–18 months to ensure a timely, relevant curriculum.”

Hear from a couple of Concordia University of Portland’s online MEd. graduates in this video:

A quick note on accreditation

Before you get emotionally invested in an online master’s degree program, take a minute to verify the accreditation of the school you earned your bachelor’s degree from.

If your undergraduate degree was accredited by a national accrediting body and not a regional accrediting body, your previous education may not transfer. It would be really disappointing to learn that after doing a bunch of research and settling on a program, so take the time to see who your previous degree is accredited by, and choose a master’s program that recognizes that accreditation.

The best school is really up to you

We can’t tell you exactly which school is the best choice for you—and you shouldn’t let anyone else do that, either. You have to weigh the factors that are most important to you and let that guide your decision.

Can you afford to take time off work, or attend intensives? Are you more interested in the getting the credentials, or what you’ll learn, and how it will affect your students?

Choosing a school is a huge investment—both in terms of what it immediately costs you and how it affects your life. So take your time.

It’s also worth noting: while we used existing “best of” lists to show you only the best of the best online master’s in teaching degrees, there were very few schools that these other lists agreed on! If anything, we hope that’s encouraging to you—people who make their living rating schools couldn’t even agree on the best ones. So whatever you choose, as long as it’s right for you, it’s probably going to be the best choice.

We hope this list has helped make the decision a little easier for you. Good luck in your future studies!

Ryan Nelson
Ryan has a B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University. If he could rewind and go to college all over again, he'd do it a little differently. For now, he's living vicariously through people like you by helping you find the best online schools for your field.

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