What Is the Average Cost of a Master’s Degree?

cost of master's

Key Takeaways:

  • The average cost of a master’s degree is around $60,000.
  • The average cost of an online master’s degree is around $25,000.
  • The cost of a master’s degree in Education is typically around $42,000.
  • For a master’s degree in Arts, the average cost is approximately $67,000.
  • The cost of a master’s degree in Science is nearly $58,000.
  • The most expensive MBA programs can cost more than $200,000.
  • Tuition for master’s programs can vary significantly based on the school, program, and whether it is a public or private institution.
  • On average, the cost of a master’s degree is $49,000 in a public school and $64,000 in a private school.

With the price tag of a college education continuing to grow steadily, many graduates inquire about the average cost of a master’s degree. Earning a master’s degree is helpful for improving your skills, advance your knowledge, and market your ability for leadership, but it’s an expensive investment. In the following article, we’ll present an overview on the costs of graduate school to determine whether adding a master’s degree to your resume is worth the price.

Factors Impacting Cost for Master’s Degrees

Of course, several important factors can influence the total dollar amount for receiving your master’s degree. First, the subject you are studying can cause your tuition expenses to rise or fall dramatically. For instance, the average tuition cost for an accredited MBA is $57,000, but degrees in fields like education are typically less. The prestige and size of your chosen university can influence the bucks you’ll need to spend. Whether you’re earning your master’s degree online or on-campus is another important factor. Online students often pay less for out-of-state programs and save bundles on transportation. The length of your master’s program will also establish how many semesters you must finance.

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Return on Investment from Master’s Programs

Although all those zeros beyond the dollar sign may scare you, it’s clear that investing in a master’s degree now can be smart for certain career paths later. Master’s degrees can be the perfect way to build on your experience and background to fine-tune skills for lucrative senior management jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graduates with a master’s degree make an average of $1,661 weekly, which is about 15 percent more than those at the baccalaureate level. The unemployment rate for master’s graduates is also significantly lower at just 1.9 percent. Your return on investment (ROI) will vary based on your chosen career though.

Ways to Make Your Master’s Degree Affordable

One of the best ways to reap good value from your master’s degree is to shop smart when comparing your graduate school options. Look for accredited master’s programs that offer good financial aid benefits or cheaper tuition rates without compromising on the quality of education. You may need to apply for Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, or private loans, but keep your borrowing limited to avoid mountains of debt. Take advantage of university financial aid, grants, scholarships, military benefits, and other tuition assistance programs because these won’t need to be repaid. Also, many full-time master’s students make their degrees less expensive by taking on graduate assistantships or fellowships. One element of cost people don’t factor in is time. A master’s degree earned quickly can cut down on costs. We have a ranking of affordable online 1-year master’s programs if you’re interested.

When deciding whether to enroll in a master’s program, your first priority should be to determine if it’s the best move for opening new career opportunities. However, you must also play the numbers game to make sure you can afford the degree and have access to viable funding options. Now that you’re aware of the average cost of a master’s degree, you can make a well-informed decision on attending graduate school to protect your future financial health.

Related to Average Cost of Master’s Degree:


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Education Data Initiatives