An online Master of Science in Education program provides education professionals with the flexibility to complete courses on their own schedule. The majority of prospective online master’s students tend to hold full-time jobs, and one of the first things they want to know is how long it will take to earn a master’s while working full time.
The most accurate answer is that it depends on multiple factors. With the right program, a student could potentially complete an online MS Ed. in under two years. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is common for new students to take two years to graduate. The average three-year graduation rate is 61.9 percent.
Factors Affecting Timing
How long a student will take to earn an MS Ed. depends on these factors:
- Enrollment status: full-time or part-time.
- Hours required.
- Prerequisites needed.
- Student’s background.
- Number of courses enrolled in per term.
If you were to compare five online MS Ed. programs, they would probably not be identical — not even if they have the same number of hours and courses required.
A traditional college course runs for 16 weeks. You can find online sessions that run anywhere from five to 10 weeks, and those shorter terms speed progress. However, short terms tend to be fast-paced and that does not work for every student. Accelerated courses may also have heavy workloads that do not work well with every student’s commitments.
Students with full-time jobs tend to enroll in one or two courses at a time. This allows them to balance their work and personal schedules along with any other commitments.
Example Online Master of Science in Education Program
Students can complete the online Master of Science in Education program at Northwest Missouri State University in as few as 12 months.
The program offers three Master of Science in Education options:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Educational Leadership
- Special Education
Each program requires students to take 10 courses for a total of 30 credit hours. All courses run for seven weeks. Northwest offers six sessions a year.
A student who takes one course per session can complete the program in 70 weeks — less than 18 months. How can a student earn the degree in just 12 months? The student takes two classes in four of the six sessions. Students may start the program in any one of the six sessions.
An online program gives you more time to get work done because you are not constrained by a commute or working around an on-campus class schedule. The courses in the online program are as intensive and challenging as those on campus. Both methods lead to the same outcome: an MS Ed. degree.
Each student has a unique need based on educational background and work experience. It helps to meet with an academic adviser, who can make recommendations based on the student’s experience and current commitments.