For working adults with a college degree – in one of the sciences, for instance, or the humanities – the lack of a business degree can be a real impediment to moving up in the corporate world. Sure, an English major can get an entry-level job in business, even work into a lower management position with good performance, but those higher-order positions will always be out of reach. You could go back and get a bachelor’s in business, but you’ve already done undergrad: you want to go forward, not backward.
That’s the impetus for the Master in Management degree, a relatively new degree that colleges and universities are beginning to offer to close the gap between a non-business bachelor’s and a business master’s. Most of these degrees (usually Master of Science, but some Master of Arts) are available to undergraduate degree holders regardless of major, and many require no work experience, though some prefer to accept students who are already working in some management capacity. Management master’s degrees are focused entirely on principles of management, leadership, and organization, preparing students for the higher responsibilities and people skills needed for upper-division management careers; unlike an MBA, students don’t need economics, statistics, and high-level mathematics, which may be a comfort to those whose skills are more interpersonal than technical.
As a new degree, the field is still somewhat in flux, and not fully defined. Because of that state, it can be hard to tell if a school’s offerings are totally legitimate: are you going to get what you’re paying for? That becomes even more true of online degrees, which are still coming out of their Wild West days into respectability and reputability. Value Colleges leads students to online degree programs from trustworthy, accredited schools, from large public research universities, small, private Christian colleges, fully-online institutions, and everything in between.
To build our list, we begin with accredited colleges and universities offering online Management degrees and consider three ranking factors:
- Payscale’s 2015 College ROI Report
- U.S. News & World Report Rankings of Online Programs
- Tuition per credit (as stated on institution’s website)
These criteria help us determine the schools that offer students the best ratio between affordability, reputation, and return on investment to find those programs most likely to leave students with a sound value.
Colorado State University, Global Campus
CSU Global Campus is a unique institution. While many large public universities have online programs, even entirely online schools within the university structure, CSU Global is the first independent, publicly sanctioned, fully online university. Part of the Colorado State University system, CSU Global Campus is not the online program for Colorado State, but a distinct entity created to serve the working adult and non-traditional learners in Colorado. Well-funded, with a world-class faculty, CSU Global has quickly become a model for online learning, with classes developed for flexibility and convenience to allow working professionals to learn on their own schedule. CSU Global offers an online Master of Science in Management with specializations in Human Resource Management and Human Resource Performance. Since CSU Global is a public, non-profit institution, tuition costs are kept intentionally low to make an education accessible for as many people as possible, so a flat fee of $500 per credit hour, plus discounts for military veterans and corporate affiliates, makes CSU Global a serious value and a smart investment in your career future.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a one-of-a-kind institution: a full university devoted to aviation and aeronautical engineering. While Embry-Riddle began as an aviation school, its growth has taken it into more of a polytechnic direction, with highly respected programs in engineering, technology, homeland security, and other areas, including business. As might be expected from such a university, Embry-Riddle’s business programs excel in preparing students for the modern economic world, in which business is inseparable from technology and those who have a command over both will be world leaders. Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s Master of Science in Management is designed to help students, especially those with technical or military background, develop their analytical and managerial skills to lead teams, make plans, and find solutions to business problems. Understandably, Embry-Riddle is an elite, competitive program, but it has a surprisingly low price of only $600 per credit hour, with a discounted rate of $520 for military personnel (just a small part of Embry-Riddle’s status as one of the best educators for veterans). Affordable tuition and a high expectation for income for their graduates make Embry-Riddle a unique value.
Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University, an historic institution on the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, MO, is beginning to make a name for itself as an online educator. Once described by Mark Twain in his book Life on the Mississippi, SMSU is forging ahead through its second century by substantially building its online programs, while keeping them affordable enough for anyone to improve their status in life with a higher degree. That, of course, is the mission of a public university, and SMSU is proving themselves with their online Master of Science in Management degree, a graduate program designed for students who do not have bachelor degrees in business, but are working in or toward a position in management. This online program will give students the skills to improve their leadership and advance their career, in a flexible, convenient format that will allow them to continue working and implementing what they learn in their courses. Best of all, all online students pay in-state tuition regardless of residency: a ridiculously low $258 per credit hour. It’s a value that’s almost too good to be true, from a university looking to make its mark in online education.
Concordia University - St. Paul
Concordia University – St. Paul, a private, Christian liberal arts university in Minnesota, has also been making strides in distance learning, becoming one of the most recognizable names in online education in recent years. Concordia values diversity and the Christian spirit of community, giving their online programs the advantage of a well-developed, supportive atmosphere. Rather than throwing students into a sink-or-swim online course, Concordia faculty make a point of offering guidance and mentoring to online students, a commitment that gives students a greater potential for success than many large, impersonal online environments. Concordia offers an unusual Master of Arts (not Science) in Leadership and Management, an all-online program emphasizing leadership skills, personnel management, change theory, and organization. As an MA degree, the Leadership and Management combines insights from the liberal arts and business, as well as Concordia’s Christian character, for a degree that will make graduates better managers by making them better people, a value in many different ways.
Penn State World Campus
Like CSU Global and Concordia, Penn State World Campus has made world-class online education their mission, and become one of the standard-setters in the process. Penn State was one of the first major, reputable universities to offer online education back in 1998, ages ago in internet time, and they have had ample time to perfect the process with highly-qualified faculty and well-developed online support systems. Penn State World Campus has acclaim to spare, and students benefit from the national and international reputation of Penn State when they graduate and hit the job market. Penn State World Campus offers a Master of Project Management degree that has been recognized as one of the best online programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This interdisciplinary business degree is open to any student with a bachelor’s degree, whether that degree is in business or not, and it prepares students for the challenges of overseeing large, complex projects from start to finish and managing the employees to do it. Students may choose to complete the degree with extra specialized electives, or a capstone project related to their business goals. Penn State World Campus per credit cost is higher than some other public universities, but the reputation that the Penn State name brings to your degree makes the expense a solid investment.
Minot State University
You may not have heard of Minot State University, but if their motto, “Be seen. Be heard” is any indication, they’d be happy to change that. Located in Minot, North Dakota, Minot State shares a quality that is found pretty commonly in the large, western states where population centers are spread out and many residents live in rural areas – a strong online education program that allows every resident to benefit from a college degree, no matter how far they are from campus. Minot’s online programs are recognized for quality by U.S. News & World Report, and at $332, they’ve been cited in many places as a super value. Minot State offers an online Master of Science in Management degree designed for working professionals to complete on their own time. With solid job placement rates and an intensive, experiential education in the full range of management principles, Minot State’s MSM teaches transferable skills that can open up a multitude of career paths, making it a secure value college.
Liberty University Online
Like Concordia (#4 above), Liberty University has built itself an impressive reputation as an online educator, standing head and shoulders above its Christian university peers. As an explicitly evangelical institution, Liberty has embraced online education as a way to spread its values beyond its home in Lynchburg, VA, developing a nationally-recognized name along the way. It’s not necessary to identify as a Christian, though Christian beliefs in character, ethics, and service underlie Liberty’s programs, including their business degrees. Liberty offers a unique master’s in management degree, a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership. The MA degree, unlike the MS, tends to emphasize theory and research, and is generally more accessible to non-business, humanities, or liberal arts majors who want to enter into a business career. Liberty’s recognized quality makes it a solid investment.
Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has a reputation that pretty much wipes out the competition, at least among large, public research universities – a slew of #1 rankings from U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek for ROI, online programs, programs for veterans, and more. Their online programs are as acclaimed as their traditional on-campus programs, which is relatively rare; few universities excel in both. A combination of faculty excellence, innovative, experiential learning, and corporate partnerships allow IU to provide students with a top-tier education that will not just teach principles, but get graduates high-paying, high-status jobs. IU offers an online Master of Science in Strategic Management, designed to help students who are already working in management positions to improve their credentials and move into bigger and better things (so, unlike most master’s in management degrees, work experience is a necessity). The program is scheduled conveniently for working adults, and can be completed in as little as 15 months; with added time and courses students can earn a dual degree MBA at the same time. An unquestionable reputation and a strong job potential make Indiana University a best possible investment.
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of Business is regarded as one of the best online business schools by U.S. News & World Report, and a best choice for veterans as well. And Bama By Distance, the university’s wonderfully-named distance education wing, has spent years developing a nation-wide reputation as an online education leader for students in Alabama and beyond. Students can choose from two online management master’s options: the Master of Science in Operations Management and the Master of Arts in Management. Both of these programs are designed for students working full-time, and can be completed in less than two years with flexible class schedules. While the MS in Operations Management prepares students for the day-to-day work of overseeing employees, materials, and equipment for optimal efficiency and effectiveness, the MA in Management has a Global Business concentration, using a variety of methods to teach students cross-cultural leadership skills and understanding of the complexities of international business management. Both are exceedingly affordable at only $360 per credit hour, so they prepare students for career success without the burden of heavy debts – a definitive value.
Montreat College, a small, Christian liberal arts college headquartered in Montreat, NC (but with campuses across North Carolina), demonstrates a fact of modern higher education that is also reflected in similar institutions Concordia and Liberty – for the traditional small liberals arts college and university to survive, they must become non-traditional. So, like those schools, Montreat has innovated, with multiple campuses and a growing online presence, and most of their degree programs are available in multiple formats today. That smart planning is reflected in the kinds of programs Montreat offers, including the Master of Science in Management and Leadership, an all-online program that allows students to prepare for a career in business management. As a Christian college, Montreat’s MSML emphasizes faith and values, guiding students in ways to link their professional development and business with their religious beliefs. Students can also choose concentrations in Cybersecurity or Criminal Justice Administration, for those who want to maintain ethical leadership while working to keep us safe.
Webster University, a private university in St. Louis, MO, has an emphatically diverse, global world-view, along with a commitment to providing educational opportunities to everyone. That commitment appears in their online program, which began in 1999, when most other colleges were worried that the internet would rot their students’ brains. Webster offers an online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership, a degree program that provides students with an understanding of business leadership theories, terminology, and practice for a career managing projects and teams in a variety of business fields. At $755 per credit, Webster falls in the median of graduate tuition costs, but their convenience and quality make it a solid investment for a fair price.
Northeastern University, College of Professional Studies
Northeastern University’s location in Boston, MA, has put it at a major center of American commerce and business for over 100 years, shaping a business school that is acclaimed by U.S. News & World Report for its cutting-edge quality. Northeastern emphasizes global business and experiential learning, giving students a realistic sense of the expectations and challenges they will encounter in professional life and providing tools to negotiating them. The online Master of Science in Leadership program is designed for cooperation and collaboration in the virtual format, with action-based projects and research to prepare students for modern business; the diversity of student experience is used as well to help students see and use leadership in a variety of settings. With recognized marketability and a reasonable cost ($615 per credit), Northeastern is a proven college value.
Texas A&M University, Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce is a part of the Texas A&M system, one of the most respected higher-education systems in Texas. A&M Commerce has its mission to provide education to the rural residents of northeastern Texas, a goal that it has performed for years through personalized, accessible education for a diverse student body. These days that mission is further met by A&M Commerce’s online offerings, which are among the cheapest (only $470 per credit) and most convenient. A&M Commerce’s Master of Science in Management is a flexible 39-credit online program that offers students expertise in general business for a variety of corporate and non-profit fields. With low prices and a transferable degree, Texas A&M Commerce is an investment that should pay off quickly.
For those readers who have only heard the name in country songs, Wichita, Kansas is a real place, and the home of Southwestern College, a respected private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Southwestern is known for their service learning and leadership emphasis, with students participating in numerous public improvement projects and sustainability efforts, appropriate to the self-sufficient Great Plains character. Southwestern’s Professional Studies school provides all-online degree programs that provide intellectual and spiritual growth, including a Master of Science in Management program that provides students with business skills that can transfer to corporate, non-profit, church, and other settings. For a private college, $539 is a low price, making Southwestern a unique value in its class.
Boston, MA, has long been a hub of business and education, with some of the most selective, renowned colleges and universities in the world – Boston University, a private research university, being just one of them. BU is elite, with a faculty made up of award-winners and legends in their fields, and an intimidating reputation. Online students can benefit from that reputation as well as traditional students with a variety of Master of Science management degrees, including Project Management. With a top-10 ranking from U.S. News & World Report for online programs, an online degree that prepares students for the challenges of managing business projects both large and small is a value at any price, but at $800 per credit, Boston University is notably cheaper than many private research universities of its caliber, adding to the value immensely.
Norwich University Online
Norwich University is known as the first private senior military college, the model for such colleges as the Citadel and Virginia Tech, as well as the founder of the ROTC. Unlike military academies such as West Point or Annapolis, Norwich is a university with both Corps of Cadets and civilian students, providing a high academic standard and challenging education for diverse students. Norwich got into the online boom early on, in 1997, and has developed a model online education system, including the Master of Science in Leadership. With classes closed at only 15 students, online students get the kind of close personal attention from faculty that keep residential students on track and motivated, while a short completion time of only 18 months means graduates get out to the job market in short order, with a reputable degree that should prove to be a solid investment.
New England College
New England College is a small, private liberal arts college in Hennicker, NH, that is making a name for itself in online education. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report for their online graduate programs, NEC is also considered a military-friendly college by several authorities for their convenient, flexible online programs and benefits for veterans and service members. The Master of Science in Management is a 36-credit graduate program with nine concentrations, including Project Management, Strategic Leadership, and Sustainability. NEC’s range of business partnerships provide students with access to real business leaders, and NEC’s reputation for excellence makes the New England College name a real asset on graduates’ resumes. Those are the keys to a college value.
American Public University System
American Public University System (APUS) is the accredited institution comprised of American Public University and American Military University. APUS is a private, for-profit, online university that is making major strides in reputation and respectability as an educational institution. As one of the few for-profit systems recognized for quality by U.S. News & World Report, APUS represents something new that students may want to consider seriously. APUS offers an online Master of Arts in Management with numerous concentrations, including fields of special interest to veterans, military personnel, and civil servants, such as Defense Management, Public Administration, and others. At only $350 per credit, it’s a low ticket price with a growing reputation, making it a top value college.
A private, Catholic university in Lisle, a suburb of Chicago, IL, Benedictine University is one of the fastest-growing private colleges in the US, a distinction that probably has much to do with its growing online presence. While most private Catholic colleges and universities are quite expensive, Benedictine’s reasonable $620 per credit price for online courses sets it apart from similar institutions. The Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior builds on business, psychology, and the humanities to emphasize the types of skills and abilities one needs to lead and motivate the many personalities in a professional setting. For further convenience, students may take either a one year accelerated program, or a traditional two-year schedule according to their availability. It’s a solid reputation and an affordable price, making Benedictine a unique value among the growing field of online Catholic universities.
CUNY School of Professional Studies
The City University of New York system is renowned for making excellent education affordable and accessible for the people of New York, with a highly diverse faculty and student body. The School of Professional Studies was established in 2003 to extend these educational opportunities to working adults and professionals all over the country and the world, with flexible, intellectually engaging online degree programs such as the Master of Science in Business Management and Leadership. Because of its home in New York City, the foremost market for business and finance in the world, even online students benefit from CUNY’s network of partnerships and connections, as well as from the established CUNY brand, a reputable name that gives the degree a step up in marketability for a sound investment in your career.
Michigan State University, Broad College of Business
Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business has been recognized by Forbes as one of the best business schools in the nation, just as Michigan State is known as one of the best public universities by U.S. News & World Report. As the very first land-grant university, Michigan State’s mission has always been to provide educational access to the public, and that mission continues in the Broad College’s online degree programs. The Master of Science in Management, Strategy, and Leadership is designed for convenience, with 15 five-week courses allowing flexibility for working adults. Students learn the most innovative, effective methods for working with employees, managing projects, and solving problems in only 20 months. The price, on the surface, may be on the higher end, but Michigan State and the Broad College of Business will provide a degree that returns that cost with a proven value.
Tarleton State University
Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, is one of the largest agricultural colleges in the US, and a major research university in the Texas A&M system. Like many rural, public colleges and universities, Tarleton State has been building its online degree programs to provide more accessible education not only for its own region, but beyond. Tarleton State offers a Master of Science in Management and Leadership degree fully online, designed for adult learners who want to pursue careers in professional management. At only $212 per credit hour for Texas residents, Tarleton State’s MSM is one of the most affordable anywhere, but even the out of state tuition rate of $786 is not excessive, considering the cost of many other programs. For Texans who find it difficult to access an on-campus program or whose schedules keep them out of the classroom, however, it would be hard to find a better pure value than Tarleton State.
Cornerstone University, a private, Christian university in Grand Rapids, MI, has spent recent years transforming from a small Bible college into a significant educational institution. Part of that development, like fellow Christian universities Liberty and (#7) and Montreat (#10), has been building an online presence, including the Master of Science in Management degree. Cornerstone’s 72-week long program emphasizes not only modern concepts in management and human resources, but ethics and Christian values for an education founded on the same principles as the university itself. At only $435 per credit, Cornerstone has made their master’s degree affordable for a wide range of students and cemented their place as a college value.
Colorado Technical University
Like American Public University, Colorado Technical University was originally formed to educate former military service members in technical and vocational fields before developing into a for-profit university. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report for their online degree programs, CTU is also praised by the NSA and Homeland Security for their security programs. Students looking for an online business degree may want to consider CTU’s Master of Science in Management, a 48-credit graduate degree with eight concentrations, including Homeland Security, Health Care Management, and Organizational Leadership and Change. CTU keeps their tuition affordable, and $460 per credit help make CTU a solid value.
Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University is not a name that pops into prospective students’ minds immediately, but that may not be the case for long; it’s the fastest-growing public university in Tennessee, and their online degree programs are making a reputation quite suddenly. The College of Business offers a 30-credit Master of Science in Management degree fully online that full-time students can complete in only a year, thanks to accelerated 8-week courses. Tennessee residents pay only $458 per credit, but out-of-state students who complete all their courses online get a significantly reduced “e-rate.” It’s a value that won’t be a secret long, so give Austin Peay State a serious look before you decide on an online MSM degree.
Chadron State College
image source by Daniel Binkard
Chadron State College, in Chadron, Nebraska, likes being known as a “Hidden Treasure,” but their online degree programs are a value that can’t stay hidden. As a state college in a small town, Chadron’s mission is accessibility and affordability, and they have put their money – or their students’ – where their mouth is. At only $281 per credit, Chadron State’s Master of Science in Organizational Management is one of the cheapest reputable degrees out there, but low cost isn’t its only value. Chadron State provides a solid education in the fundamentals of management for corporate, government, and non-profit fields, and students can also specialize in Human Services or Sports Management. Their tuition makes for a low-risk investment, with an education that can provide a high return in comparison.
Salve Regina University
If you ever encountered a little Latin, you may be able to guess that Salve Regina University is a Catholic institution. This private university in Newport, RI, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, is primarily a small liberal arts college that has been recognized in the past by U.S. News & World Report as a top master’s university for the region. Salve Regina offers a Master of Science in Innovation and Strategic Management, a field of study that is gaining widespread recognition and growing by the year as businesses find the need for leaders who can adapt to the constant flux of modern business. This 36-credit program does not require a business background and prepares students for creative, forward thinking. Salve Regina’s $490 per credit tuition rate is low for a private university, making it even more of a value.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University, a private, evangelical institution associated with the Wesleyan Church, is following the path that many of its Christian college peers have chosen by developing a strong online identity and building its student body. Already the largest private college in Indiana, IWU is growing by leaps and bounds, attracting students with its high quality (one of the best graduate schools in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report) and convenient online programs. Students can complete a 36-credit Master of Science in Management degree entirely online, learning skills for organizing projects, leading and motivating workers, and developing problem-solving strategies in realistic settings. IWU charges $515 per credit hour, a moderate price for a solid value.
University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver, a large, public research university, has high accolades from U.S. News & World Report and Forbes, especially for their medical and nursing schools, but the Business School has its share of honors and advantages. Several significant research centers, major corporate partnerships, and one of the most productive faculties in the nation add up to a top-tier quality. Business students will find the online Master of Science in Management a flexible, affordable way to get a graduate business degree, with courses schedules day, nights, and weekends for convenience and small classes that let students get to know each other and their instructors. A reasonable tuition rate and high quality make CU Denver a solid investment.
Harvard Extension School
Not everybody can get into Harvard, obviously, but for those who make the cut, there is a wealth of opportunity and a high return on investment. First of all, Harvard isn’t as expensive as you may expect – at around $800 per credit it’s not even the most expensive program on this list. Secondly, the name Harvard automatically pushes your resume to the top of the stack, if you even need to apply at all, considering the connections you gain from a Harvard association. The Harvard Extension School offers a Master of Liberal Arts in Management degree, combining the insights of the liberal arts and humanities with the most current business theory to create an education that prepares students for the complexities of leading employees in the modern business environment. Harvard’s degree, however, is a hybrid, so four out of twelve courses must been taken on campus, but what’s a little inconvenience for a Harvard degree?
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University was founded back in 1932, but SNHU really came into its own beginning in 1996, when it became one of the earliest universities to offer fully online degrees. Since then, SNHU has grown to an online education powerhouse, recognized as one of the most innovative and daring institutions around. SNHU’s online Master of Science in Management program can be completed in only 15 months and is taught by experts in not only the theory, but the practice of business. SNHU’s tuition is manageable at $627 per credit, but is even more attractive for active military personnel, only $470 per credit. Affordability and convenience have made Southern New Hampshire’s name, but solid return makes it a best value.
Stevens Institute of Technology
With an exceptionally high ROI and job placement rate for graduates, Stevens Institute of Technology as a well-earned reputation as a great investment. Located in Hoboken, NJ, Stevens is a STEM college, perfectly suited to preparing students from all backgrounds for the technology-dominated economy of today and tomorrow. Stevens’ Master of Science in Management is a 30-credit program designed for students without work experience from non-business majors, particularly those with science, engineering, or tech degrees. Students learn principles of leadership, organization, and business technology, with many electives to further hone in and specialize. It’s a high tuition rate, relatively, but the potential for return balances out to a college value for those high-performing students who excel.
Amberton University exists as a non-traditional institution for working adults (in fact, Amberton accepts no students under 21) interested in improving their job prospects and status in an evangelical environment. Amberton’s home is Garland, TX, a suburb of Dallas, but their online degree programs are available throughout Texas and the US for a shockingly low tuition price of $250 per credit. Amberton offers an online Master of Science in Managerial Science program for students with any kind of bachelor degree, business or not, a 36-credit interdisciplinary course that prepares students for management in a variety of settings. While Amberton is still improving its reputation, the exceedingly affordable ticket price makes Amberton a value to consider.
Hope International University
Hope International University, a small private university in Fullerton, CA, is a professed evangelical Christian institution designed to educate students for Christian service in business, education, and the social sciences. With their sharp focus, Hope International is best fit for committed Christians, but for prospective students looking for a convenient, affordable Master of Science in Management degree, Hope may be the place for you. Hope International’s emphasis is on ethical leadership and Christian service in the business world, with concentrations in Non-Profit Management, Marketing Management, and International Development. A mid-range tuition of $690 per credit will leave students with a manageable debt and make Hope International a values-centered college value.
The Catholic University of America
The Catholic University of America, from its home in Washington, DC, is a unique online university, being one of the few pontifical universities (founded with the direct approval of a pope) in the US. Basically, CUA is as Catholic as Catholic gets, which is good news for Catholics (or even non-Catholics) looking for a highly respected, reasonably affordable online degree from a college considered one of the best in the US by the Princeton Review. With an emphasis on personal development and public service, CUA’s online Master of Science in Management degree will prepare students for service leadership. CUA’s Washington, DC location means it is one of the best places to prepare for a career in federal civil service, and one of the MSM concentrations is Federal Acquisition and Contract Management. The Catholic University of America is a unique value that could be an investment no other school can quite match.
Nova Southeastern University, Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship
Nova Southeastern University doesn’t have the highest name recognition, but it has a high level of quality and reputation to make up. With one of the Princeton Review’s best distance education programs, as well as a top university for minorities, NSU has distinguished itself for diversity and innovation. That reputation extends to the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s online Master of Science in Leadership, a management master’s degree that prepares students for motivating, guiding, and influencing employees and managing projects and teams. In less than two years students can earn a master’s degree with instruction from faculty versed in strategic leadership theory, and at a moderate cost of $759 per credit, expect a solid return on their investment.
Western Governors University
Founded in 1996 by a coalition of governors to provide non-traditional education to their constituents, Western Governors University began making its mark with online education, providing affordable online degrees across multiple regions, winning the support of the US Department of Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their innovative competency-based education does away with traditional grades and instead moves students through as they develop competency in specific skills. The Master of Science in Management and Leadership program is flexible and accessible, and with tuition rates unchanged since 2008, WGU keeps their costs exceptionally low, giving students a better shot as a high return on their educational investment.
Brandeis University, Graduate Professional Studies
Brandeis University has a reputation that speaks for itself, though U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, among others, will substantiate it. Originally founded as a Jewish college, with input from no lesser intellect than Albert Einstein, Brandeis is today recognized as one of the best private research universities in the US. Online students can benefit from the reputation with an online Master of Science in Project and Program Management. With the small classes, close mentorship, and challenging coursework of a residential program, Brandeis’ online master’s program will prepare students for leading complex projects from all angles, from personnel to technology. While the tuition rate is unsurprisingly high, the Brandeis name on a resume carries a value that easily outweighs the cost.
University of Maryland University College
Inspired by the European University College model, the University of Maryland University College is not a segment of the University of Maryland, but a unique institution in the UM system formed to facilitate professional development and adult learning. UMUC is one of the US’s largest distance education institutions, with over 80,000 students worldwide, drawn to UMUC’s affordability and convenience. With over 20 possible specializations, the UMUC Master of Science in Management degree program gives students a wide range of potential, including a number of specializations tailored to military service members, such as Joint Military Strategy and Marine Corps Operations. At only $458, UMUC’s quality and accessibility make it a solid Best Value college.
Originally founded to provide adult education for the Bellevue, Nebraska region, Bellevue University has grown into one of the premier online educators according to U.S. News & World Report. With a student body almost completely made up of adults over the age of 25, Bellevue knows what working adults need to continue and complete their education, and their online degree programs are developed for success. Students earning the online Master of Science in Management degree can choose from five specializations, including Executive Coaching, Human Resource Management, and Project Management, with emphasis on building teams, motivating employees, and directing complex projects. A reasonable tuition rate of $525 makes Bellevue a relatively painless investment in a bright future.
With a seal of approval from one of America’s foremost economic and business leaders, Steve Forbes, Ashford University’s Forbes School of Business has a reputation for entrepreneurial excellence that is hard to ignore. Ashford, a for-profit online educator, offers a Master of Arts in Organizational Management that is designed to be completed in just over a year, at a reasonable cost of $560. The MA in Organizational Management focuses on change and innovation, preparing students for the constant adaptations of contemporary business, resulting in an education that looks to the future and the unknown rather than the past.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a small, private Catholic institution in Winona, Minnesota, dedicated to service in teaching. As a Catholic college, Saint Mary’s business programs emphasize ethics alongside practical managerial skills, preparing students for careers in leadership and service to their employees and communities. The Master of Science in Project Management is a 42-credit program which can be completed in a little over two years taking two courses at a time, fully online in an asynchronous format so students can learn on their own time, around their current work schedule. For a private university, Saint Mary’s is quite affordable at $580 per credit, making it a sound value for working adults interested in career change, higher status, or just professional development.
There are a lot of small, private liberal arts colleges in New England, and many of them are bigger names than Lasell, but few are a better value. Geared toward the working adult learner, Lasell is a different kind of New England liberal arts college, with flexible schedules and a full slate of online degree programs for non-traditional students to earn a degree with the kind of quality and attention residential students expect from this class of school. Lasell offers an online Master of Science in Management program with seven concentrations, including Elder Care Management, Non-Profit Management, and more. Classes are kept small for individualized attention, and full-time students can finish in only a year. Lasell’s $595 per credit is low for a college of this caliber, making it a surprising investment value.
Thomas Edison State College
Like the University of Maryland University College (#39) or the CUNY School of Professional Studies (#20), Thomas Edison State College is a public institution founded to offer innovative, alternative education strategies for adult learners. Located in Trenton, NJ, the home of Thomas Edison’s legendary laboratories, TESC has a highly developed online education network, having been an early pioneer in online learning. Students today can go online to earn a Master of Science in Management degree at an affordable $645 per credit hour from a known leader in online higher education. This 36-credit program is specifically designed according to the requested needs and expectations of major employers in New Jersey, and students can specialize in Accounting, Organizational Leadership, Project Management, or Public Service. Students in New Jersey, especially, know that they are getting an education respected and desired by employers, making Thomas Edison State’s MSM degree a sound investment.
Hodges University, a small, private university in Naples, FL, focuses on career-oriented study, especially for adult and non-traditional students. Online students can earn a fully online Master of Science in Management degree designed to help students increase their critical thinking, strategy, and leadership skills in ways that can be used across business, public, and non-profit fields. The 30-credit program can be completed in less than two years part-time, and less than one year for students taking a full-time load. Hodge’s commitment to making education accessible leads to their reasonable tuition rate, a low $660 compared to other private universities. It’s a sound education for a best value price.
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University, a private, evangelical Christian institution, is located in Azusa, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. Based on a Wesleyan-Arminian theology, Azusa’s Evangelical bona fides go back to the turn of the 20th century, and continue to inform their education today. Evangelical Christian values are at the center of Azusa’s business program, including the online Master of Arts in Management degree, which guides students to develop strategic leadership skills within an ethical context. APU’s 39-credit program can be completed in as little as 18 months, to get working adults on track to higher status and pay quickly. APU’s $722 per credit lands it solidly in the mid-range of tuition costs, an affordability that suggests a strong return in graduate’s careers.
Walden University, one of the best-known names in online education, is a private, for-profit university that has managed to avoid the pitfalls of many of their peers by putting educational innovation, social activism, and student success ahead of profits. Walden has been cited among online for-profits for their excellence, and their highly-developed online offerings are affordable and reputable. Walden offers a Master of Science in Management degree with eight specializations, including Health Care Management, Strategy and Operations, and Project Management, specializations that can lead graduates to specific careers or to adapt to a variety of public, private, and non-profit professions. Walden offers cutting-edge instruction with reasonable tuition rates to send graduates to a bright future in business.
image courtesy of Goucher College
A small liberal arts college in Towson, suburban Baltimore, ML, Goucher College is a unique educational institution, and the first college in the US to include a mandatory study-abroad experience for undergraduate students. While that may suggest an expensive, elite college, Goucher’s online graduate courses are nowhere near the highest, at $825 per credit. Goucher offers a Master of Arts in Management degree through online courses, but students should be aware that there is a limited, twice-yearly on-campus meeting required, so prospective students should be prepared to travel. Goucher’s MA in Management is designed to be cross-disciplinary and dynamic, so graduates are prepared for leadership in just about any possible field.
Troy University is no longer known as Troy State, but this public university in Troy, Alabama, exemplifies the mission of the public university through its solid, affordable education offered in accessible forms to the people of the region. Troy’s profile is growing through its eTROY online program, offering high-quality degree programs fully online, including a Master of Science in Management degree. This 30-credit program is designed to steep non-business bachelor degree-holders in business concepts, with an emphasis on Leadership. Courses are flexible and affordable, at only $494 per credit, and guarantee students a 21st century education that will carry them confidently into their business careers.
Indiana Institute of Technology
The Indiana Institute of Technology, a private tech university in Fort Wayne, IN, took an interesting route that looks backward in today’s higher-education climate – founded as a for-profit institution in 1930, it became a non-profit less than twenty years later and remains so. Indiana Tech’s mission is high-quality, career-driven education in professional fields for students who want a degree that will get them the status and pay they deserve. Part of making quality technical education accessible is a well-designed online degree program, and students can go to Indiana Tech virtually for a Master of Science in Management degree, or work on a dual MSM/MBA in Management degree. Either option has the advantage of a low $495 per credit tuition, making Indiana Tech a top 50 Best Value option for an online Master’s in Management degree.