The term “easiest master’s degree” might seem contrary. After all, graduate school is the place to go to earn an advanced degree. This kind of advanced study requires a lot of work. But not all master’s degrees are equally challenging.
Some of the easiest masters programs require students to take fewer classes to graduate. This means earning fewer credits over the course of the program. For example, some of the quickest masters degrees require as few as 30 semester credits to graduate. On the other hand, some masters programs require more than 60 credits to graduate.
In some programs, the coursework itself can be easier and more fun. Some master’s degree programs have a reputation for being easy because there’s no thesis required. Still other programs have less stringent admissions requirements too. For example, some programs do not require you to take the GRE, making them among the easiest masters to get into.
An easy masters degree has plenty of benefits. They can improve your career prospects. They can also improve your earning potential without requiring a great deal of time or financial investment. The opportunity to learn new skills and gain new knowledge are further benefits.
But it’s important to note that some of the easiest online masters degrees might not be worth the hassle.
For example, some quick and easy online masters degrees are not from accredited schools. This could pose a problem for things like licensure or certification down the road. Likewise, there are plenty of “degree mills” that offer easy masters degrees, but that provide little or no value to students upon graduation.
This being the case, it’s important that you do your due diligence when identifying possible schools.
What’s more, it’s necessary to have realistic expectations about the ease of getting a masters degree. It is hard work, even in the easiest online masters degree programs. And it will take time too. Most masters programs – even the quickest masters degrees – will likely take 1-2 years to complete.
To help you narrow your search, we’ve identified 20 of the easiest online masters degrees currently available. Explore each of these easy masters degrees in more detail below.
1. Liberal Studies
- Media studies
- Social science
- Social issues
In many liberal arts degree programs, electives make up half of a student’s credits. Sometimes it’s more. Often, students use their electives to specialize in one area. This might be in science, religion, or culture, to name a few.
The bulk of one’s studies include a focus on developing versatile skills. These might include research, critical thinking, and writing skills.
In many cases, this degree program does not require a thesis. Instead, students might complete an applied project.
This is considered an easy masters degree because of its broad focus. The high number of electives also lends to the perception that this is an easy degree. The concentration on developing soft skills is another reason why this is among the easiest masters programs.
What Makes It Easy: A broad curriculum with lots of electives is the easiest part of this degree. A focus on developing soft skills helps too.
The Hardest Part: Honing your analytical thinking and communication skills takes time. Completing an applied project before graduation is time-consuming.
Career Opportunities: Journalist, editor, publicist, manager, politician, policy analyst, manager and many more
2. Teaching and Education
There are two popular options here. One is the master of Arts in Teaching. This degree prepares students to become teachers. Students in this program have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, but no teaching experience or education.
For example, let’s say you have an undergraduate degree in biology. If you want to become a teacher, you could do so by getting a graduate degree in teaching or education.
This degree focuses on the basics of education. This includes:
- Teaching practices
- Teaching methods
- Educational psychology
- Curriculum and instruction
- Child development
- Classroom management
Part of the curriculum is student teaching. This means that this degree cannot be completed fully online. Instead, student teaching must be in-person.
The other option is a Master of Education. This degree is for licensed teachers that want to advance their expertise. This includes learning more about theory, instruction, and educational leadership.
In both cases, students can complete these degrees in as little as one-and-a-half years. Usually, just 30 credits are required. Therefore, this is a quick and easy online masters degree.
The Master of Arts in Teaching is seen as an easy degree because students can get their teaching license much more quickly. Master of Education degrees seem easy as well. The difficulty of the coursework is considered pretty low. This is due in large part to students already having real-world teaching experience.
Though these degrees are considered easy to finish, they can lead to a big salary boost. That makes this a great option for someone that wants to earn more money relatively quickly.
What Makes It Easy: These programs can be completed quickly. There is seldom a thesis required. Coursework might seem quite easy, especially in a Masters of Education program.
The Hardest Part: Completing face-to-face student teaching requirements is the most difficult part.
Career Opportunities: Elementary school teacher, middle school teacher or high school teacher
3. Business Administration
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular graduate degrees on this list. The MBA is one of the most in-demand business degrees. It is one of the most marketable master’s degrees in business too.
With an MBA, you get tons of versatility. That makes this degree program very popular among online and on-campus students.
The coursework in an online MBA program includes:
- Business strategy
- Information systems
Not only is this a versatile degree, but it is also one of the quickest masters degrees. Most programs take just one or two years to complete.
Upon graduation, students should have the leadership skills to manage projects and people. Graduates will also have a solid understanding of supply chain management. MBA graduates also have the analytical skills to make sound business decisions.
This degree has a reputation for being easy for several reasons.
First, many MBA programs don’t require a GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score. Second, the curriculum is broad and varied. This means less technical knowledge is required of students. Lastly, many MBA programs do not require a thesis.
What Makes It Easy: A broad curriculum requires less technical knowledge. The focus on developing soft skills in business also makes it easy. There is a lack of required advanced science and math courses too.
The Hardest Part: Developing a broad range of business skills is one of the most difficult parts of this program.
Career Opportunities: Human resources specialist, human resources manager, financial analyst, financial manager, management analyst, marketing manager or computer and information systems manager
4. Health Care Administration
When pursuing a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree online, students take many different courses. This includes:
- Human resources
- Health care law
- Health care information systems
Of course, all of these courses focus on applying business concepts to health care settings.
Some programs give you the option of doing a course concentration. For example, you might specialize in health care ethics or acute care.
Additionally, MHA students often have to do a practicum. In some cases, a thesis is also required. This is not always the case though. There is great variation from one program to the next.
In fact, some graduate degrees in this field are easy to earn. Others are more difficult. For example, some programs require about 30-33 credits to complete. Others require 60 credits to complete. That could mean a difference of spending two years or four years in graduate school.
Admissions requirements also differ. Sometimes, programs ask that you have several years of health care job experience. Others might require a good score on the GRE. Of course, some programs admit students without either of these prerequisites.
What Makes It Easy: Some programs don’t require test scores. Others don’t require prior work experience. There are many options that have just 30-33 credit hours for graduation.
The Hardest Part: The in-person practicum is a lengthy and detailed requirement. Some programs are quite long.
Career Opportunities: Medical and health services manager, health care social worker, medical records and health information technician or administrative services manager
5. Corporate Communications
Classes in this degree cover a wide range of subjects:
- Digital marketing
- Advertising management
- Public speaking
- Strategic marketing
- Internal communication and change
- Reputation management
There is a focus on marketing as well. This includes social media, visual communication, and media relations.
Upon graduating, students are prepared for jobs in marketing or advertising. Many graduates also get into brand development.
In general, degrees in communication are seen as being among the easiest master’s degree programs. These programs don’t have many science or math courses. Additionally, there is a strong focus on developing soft skills. Soft skills tend to be easier to learn than hard skills.
However, there is a lot of writing involved in this degree. There is a lot of research, too. Yet, this is a quick and easy online masters degree that can be completed in two years or less. Some schools offer fast-track programs that can be done in under one year.
What Makes It Easy: These programs are quick to complete. The focus on developing communication skills rather than technical knowledge makes it easier as well.
The Hardest Part: Writing-intensive courses can be time-consuming.
Career Opportunities: Marketing manager, public relations manager, advertising manager, internal communications manager, external communications manager and corporate communication officer (CCO)
6. Mass Communication
The courses in this degree are pretty simple. This is true when compared to courses for other degrees. This includes:
- Mass communication
- Strategic communication
- International mass communication
- Media and communication law
- Research methods
There are also specialization options. This gives you a chance to learn advanced skills. However, because specializations are often more interesting to students, this adds to the perception that this is an easy masters degree. In spite of being an easy degree, students should be prepared to spend a lot of time on research and writing.
Some popular concentrations include:
- Digital strategy
- Political communication
- Health communication
- Social media
- Online communication
In some cases, a thesis might be required. Most schools offer a non-thesis option to make things easier.
This is also among the quickest masters degrees. About 30-36 credits are required. If you go to school full-time, this degree can be completed in two years.
What Makes It Easy: A focus on developing communication skills you likely already possess. The short time to graduation and non-thesis tracks in many degree programs also helps.
The Hardest Part: A curriculum full of writing-intensive courses that can be time-consuming. Developing communication skills for challenging situations requires a lot of work.
Career Opportunities: Journalist, public relations specialist, public relations manager, press secretary, media relations consultant, political campaign consultant or speechwriter
7. Art Education
These skills are developed in courses like:
- Art history
- Curriculum and instruction
- Research methods
- World art
- Color theory
- Design thinking
Additionally, students must take hands-on art courses. These courses often fit with their speciality. This might be photography or sculpture. It could also be painting or mixed media.
Like other education degrees on this list, art education is a quick and easy online masters degree. Usually 30-36 credits are required. Full-time students can complete this degree in two years or less.
This is one of the easiest masters programs as well. There are few lab science or math courses. There are many hands-on art classes. Plus, these hands-on classes aren’t as difficult as those in a Master of Fine Arts degree.
A challenging part of this degree is learning how to help others find their artistic voice. This can be hard, especially when a student’s creative vision differs from your own.
What Makes It Easy: This is a subjective field of study. There is a lack of required advanced science and math courses. There are also fewer required studio courses compared to fine arts degree programs.
The Hardest Part: Completing required studio work takes time. Developing teaching skills in addition to art skills can be difficult.
Career Opportunities: Art teacher, art professor, museum curator or art gallery director
8. Music Education
First, most people that want this degree are already teachers. This means they have classroom experience. It also means they already have advanced educations in music.
Second, this is a fun and creative area. This makes the work of getting the degree seem easier.
Third, this is one of the easiest masters to get into. Many programs don’t require you to take the GRE.
Fourth, like art education, music education is kind of like majoring in your favorite hobby. This means that the work can be very interesting and engaging.
Some of the classes you can expect to take include:
- Music education
- Education philosophy
- History of music education
- Psychology of music
- Research in music education
There are also courses related to instructional design, assessment, and using technology in the classroom.
In most cases, these degrees do not require a thesis. A capstone project might be required instead. Often, an internship is required as well.
Another benefit of this degree is that it tends to be short. Usually, just 30-39 credits are required. Most programs can be finished in two years.
What Makes It Easy: The subjectivity of the field makes it easier to study. There is also a lack of required advanced science and math courses. The perception of being a fun field of study also makes it seem easy.
The Hardest Part: Learning how to help students in their musical development requires a lot of patience. Studying the complex theories of music and music education can be challenging.
Career Opportunities: Music teacher, college music professor, conductor, or band director
9. Family, Youth and Community Sciences
Students in this program will learn practical skills, such as:
- Youth development
- Family development
- Program planning
There are often courses in leadership and fundraising as well. Of course, many jobs in this field require some business skills too. This includes risk management, strategic planning, and marketing.
In most cases, graduates earn a Master of Science degree. This degree gives them the ability to work in a wide variety of settings. Many graduates work for a non-profit. Others work at counseling centers. Yet others enter the community development field.
Many masters programs in this field include a research component. However, it is social science research, not lab research. This is part of the reason why this degree is considered among the quickest masters degrees.
What Makes It Easy: There are non-thesis options in many programs. There is also a lack of required advanced science and math courses.
The Hardest Part: Learning to design and conduct research can be time-consuming.
Career Opportunities: Counselor, family therapist or community development leader
10. Health Education and Behavior
Students often do coursework in health education principles. Additionally, courses cover topics such as:
- Theories of health behavior and practice
- Medical terminology
- Health communication
- Health promotion programs
Graduate programs in health education usually have courses in drug education and patient health education as well.
Unlike other health-related degrees like medicine, a master’s in this field does not prepare you to provide direct patient care. Instead, graduates of these programs promote healthier living. This might include developing, implementing, and assessing health education programs.
What health educators can look forward to is a positive job outlook. The BLS predicts a faster-than-average growth rate of 13 percent throughout the end of the decade.
What Makes It Easy: A focus on education rather than direct patient care makes this an easier degree. There are fewer advanced lab science courses than other health care degrees as well.
The Hardest Part: Learning medical terms and meeting graduation requirements such as passing certification exams are two of the most difficult parts of this degree. Still, it is among the easiest masters programs.
Career Opportunities: Community health educator, health promotion specialist or worksite wellness manager
11. Reading and Literacy Education
Often, a degree in reading and literacy is in the form of a Master of Education degree. It requires coursework in subjects such as:
- Teaching reading
- Trends in reading
- Classroom literacy assessment
- Diagnosis of reading difficulties
- Teaching strategies
- Children’s literature
Some online versions of this degree do not require a thesis. However, most of them do require in-person practicum experiences. These experiences give students the chance to put their learning to the test in a school with kids.
This degree is popular with teachers. It can be quick to finish. Having a masters degree also helps move teachers up the pay scale.
The downside of this degree is its relatively narrow focus. Pursuing a degree that is more versatile can be more helpful in day-to-day interactions with students and teachers.
Nevertheless, this is an important degree to pursue. Teaching kids to read and write gives them critical skills for success. They can use those skills for the rest of their lives. This is true whether they enter the workforce, go to college, enter a trade school, or join the armed forces.
This degree also helps teach you how to teach others. Reading and writing might be easy for you. But some people struggle. It’s critical to learn how to teach others and how to be patient as they learn and grow.
What Makes It Easy: Most degrees in this field have non-thesis options. If you already have a teaching degree, you’ll have a good base of knowledge to start this degree.
The Hardest Part: Learning techniques to help students who struggle with reading and writing.
Career Opportunities: Preschool teacher, elementary school teacher, middle school teacher or high school teacher
12. English Literature
Typical courses might include:
- Literary theory
- Global literature
- Methods of teaching writing
Elective courses for this degree usually focus on specific types of writing. For example, you might study Shakespeare or African-American literature.
There is usually a research component in this degree. However, it is typically a non-thesis research project. This is one of the reasons why it is on our list of the easiest online masters degrees.
What makes this degree even easier is if you’re a native English speaker. Having grown up reading, writing, and speaking English will make this degree far simpler to complete.
Additionally, people that choose this degree usually enjoy reading and writing for fun. Therefore, studying literature is less work and more pleasure. It’s almost like getting a degree in your favorite hobby!
What Makes It Easy: A lack of required advanced science and math courses definitely helps. There are also many non-thesis program options. Literature is a fun topic to study too.
The Hardest Part: Learning complicated language concepts can be a big hurdle for some students. Analyzing complex works of literature can be difficult as well.
Career Opportunities: Writer, teacher, editor, communications or public relations
13. Library Science
Library science programs go by slightly different names. This includes Master of Information Studies. It also includes Master of Library and Information Studies. Regardless of this difference, these degrees take one to two years of study. That makes this degree among the quickest masters degrees.
Some of the courses you take might include:
- Research strategies
- Online reference systems
- Information organization
- Archives and preservation
- School media library
Not all librarians are employed in schools. However, this is a major area of employment. Other librarians work at public libraries, museums, law schools, and for digital libraries.
One thing that is common among all jobs in this field is faster than average job growth. This is good news if you’re considering getting an MLS degree.
This is considered one of the easiest online masters degrees. Why? Part of it is perception. When you think of a librarian, you might think of someone that sits at a desk all day. However, a librarian’s job is much more than checking books in and out.
Many librarians are involved in research. A large part of the job is also business-related. This includes making purchase orders, overseeing staff, and maintaining the library’s collection of materials.
While this is considered an easy masters degree to get, it might not be enough for some librarian jobs. For example, to work in a law library, you might also need to have a law degree.
What Makes It Easy: Many MLS programs have a non-thesis option. There is also a lack of required advanced science and math courses. Some MLS degrees also have a fast completion time compared to other degrees.
The Hardest Part: Keeping up with changing technologies can be a lot of work. Needing additional degrees for specialized work can also make this a difficult field to enter.
Career Opportunities: Librarian, media curator, archivist or archival consultant, data manager or analyst, research or technology coordinator or project manager
14. Education Leadership and Administration
This is one of the quickest masters degrees. For some students, the degree can be finished in about a year. It is more common to take two years.
This degree program centers on educational courses, such as:
- Teacher development
- Curriculum development
- School law
- Finance and resource management
- Multicultural education
Most students in this program are already teachers. This makes it one of the easiest masters to get into. That’s because people that are teaching already have certifications and licensure in place. Having experience in a classroom setting also prepares graduate students for this degree.
In many cases, internship experiences are required. Internships are supervised, usually by a school administrator. In some cases, these internships can be completed at the school in which you work.
Usually, masters programs in this field have a non-thesis option. What’s more, many graduate programs do not require advanced studies in science or math. This helps make this one of the easiest master’s degrees.
What Makes It Easy: The non-thesis option and quick completion time make this among the easiest masters programs. Additionally, a lack of required advanced science and mathematics courses makes it easier to complete.
The Hardest Part: Developing a broad range of school leadership skills can be a challenge.
Career Opportunities: School principal, assistant principal, department chair or instructional coordinator
15. Human Services
- Mental health care
- Physical health care
- Foster care
- Community services
- Social services
Different programs offer different degrees. A Master of Arts or Master of Science are the most common. Neither option has many advanced math or science requirements. Instead, core subjects include:
- Human services research
- Policy issues
- Social change
- Professional ethics
- Human services management
There are different concentrations you can pursue with this degree. Some students choose to specialize in public health. Others go for leadership. Some focus on family studies. Yet others focus on intervention. This is just a small sampling of the available concentrations.
This is one of the easiest master’s degrees because there is often a non-thesis option. Likewise, there is an emphasis on skill development rather than technical knowledge.
But be warned – this field of work can be highly stressful. The salary is not as high as in other fields as well. The lower pay often leads outsiders to rate these programs as being easy.
What Makes It Easy: It’s a broad field of study. There are non-thesis degree options. There is a lack of required advanced science and math courses too.
The Hardest Part: Learning how to apply human services skills to many different communities.
Career Opportunities: Social services case manager, foster care program coordinator, mental health counselor, grant writer, wellness director, social and community service manager, nursing home administrator or medical and health services manager
16. Public Administration
- Policy analysis
- Homeland security
- Human resources
- Effective city management
As with other master’s programs, public administration offers several options. These include:
- Emergency management
- Human resources management
- Homeland defense
- Public affairs administration
In some cases, students might have to do an internship. This is usually only if they don’t have prior public sector experience.
This master’s degree is considered one of the easiest you can get for many reasons. A broad range of subjects is studied. It is also one of the quickest masters degrees to complete. There are non-thesis options available. Many online public administration master’s degrees do not require a GRE or GMAT, either.
What Makes It Easy: Varied courses help keep things interesting. A focus on developing soft skills is a main reason this is one of the easiest online masters degrees. Advanced science and math courses usually aren’t required. Non-thesis program options are available. A lack of GRE or GMAT score requirements also make this an easy master’s degree.
The Hardest Part: Developing a broad range of management skills can be difficult. Completing an internship can be time-consuming.
Career Opportunities: Nonprofit manager, contract administrator, policy analyst, public health administrator, government program analyst, city manager, executive director or director of operations
17. Leadership and Management
What exactly does it mean to earn a graduate degree in leadership? For many students, it means studying organizational leadership or management. In most cases, this results in a Master of Science degree. A Master of Professional Studies degree is another option.
This is one of the easiest online masters degrees. A big reason for this is because online degrees in this field focus more on personal and creative skills.
In fact, some of the skills you can expect to develop include:
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Conflict management
- Strategic thinking
- Social responsibility
In some cases, you might pursue an area of emphasis. Some options might include human resource management, project management or health care management.
Some critics say that this kind of degree is unnecessary. After all, many excellent leaders have natural leadership abilities. However, not every business professional has natural skills. As such, a masters degree in leadership is a good option for a lot of students.
This is considered among the easiest master’s degrees because there is often a non-thesis option available. A capstone project might be required instead. But many students find a capstone project to be much less time-consuming or stressful.
What Makes It Easy: A focus on building soft skills in leadership is a main reason why this is an easy masters degree. The lack of required science and math courses also makes this a quick and easy online masters degree.
The Hardest Part: Developing skills outside your comfort zone can be a challenge. Completing a capstone experience is a lot of work as well.
Career Opportunities: Management analyst, training and development manager, human resources manager, medical and health services manager, computer and information systems manager or top executive
18. Criminal Justice
Studies in criminal justice may end with a degree in criminology. Other times you can get a degree in homeland security. Forensics is another option. Different graduate programs view this field through different lenses.
For example, a criminology master’s degree explores criminal behavior. This is done through courses in criminal behavior, public policy, and social problems. Other courses might include legal institutions, correctional theories and practice, and specific types of crime, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate degrees in homeland security prepare students to protect the nation from threats. This degree includes coursework in:
- National security and intelligence
- Emergency management
- Crisis and disaster communication
- Network management
- Risk management
- Strategic planning
Students that pursue a forensic science master’s degree gain skills to study crime scene evidence. To build these skills, programs include courses in forensic biology, toxicology, and forensic analysis, among others.
Each of these areas have aspects that make them difficult. But overall, criminal justice master’s degrees are seen as easy. There are many reasons for this. However, primary among them is the perception that this degree isn’t as valuable as others.
In fact, Forbes ranked criminal justice as “the worst master’s degree for jobs” a few years ago. This ranking was due in part to low job satisfaction rates. Another factor was low job growth. Additionally, low salaries for graduates make this an undesirable degree for some people.
But, the work in this field is very valuable. Studying criminal justice can be fulfilling for the right student too.
Besides, criminal justice remains a very popular field. Part of its allure is the desire of students to help others. It can also be interesting work, and a lot of fun to study.
What Makes It Easy: The variety of courses is interesting. The lack of required science courses in some programs is a bonus. There are typically non-thesis program options as well. This makes this a quick and easy online masters degree for many students.
The Hardest Part: Courses in research and forensic science can be extremely difficult.
Career Opportunities: Crime scene investigator, criminologist, intelligence analyst, forensic scientist, security manager or detective
19. Sports Management
A Master of Science in Sports Management is a business degree. Students learn how business concepts are applied to sports.
This program focuses on many areas. It includes a wide range of topics:
- Public relations
- Research methods
Additionally, students in these programs study sports marketing. They also study media and economics of sports. There are often courses in research methods in sports and international business as well.
One of the features of sports management that makes it an easy masters degree is that most programs do not require a thesis. In some cases, students might have to complete a capstone course. Other programs require an internship. In some cases, both are required.
And while you might expect that a specialized degree like this might not be easy, for many students, it is. That’s because students in these programs typically already have experience with sports and business. There is also a focus on soft skills, rather than technical knowledge and skills. Learning soft skills like effective communication and leadership is often easier than highly technical subjects.
There is a problem, though. In the past, sports management has been described as one of the worst master’s degrees for jobs.
What Makes It Easy: The focus on developing soft skills for business is what makes this one of the easiest master’s degrees. The broad focus on various business subjects helps too. A lack of required advanced science and math courses makes it easier as well.
The Hardest Part: Completing required capstone experiences and internships can be time-consuming. Developing a broad range of business skills while still focusing on the sports industry can be taxing.
Career Opportunities: Sports team manager, sports marketer, recruiter, agent or athletic director
20. Law (LLM)
Most Master of Laws students are practicing attorneys. In this case, they have already earned their law degree and are licensed to practice law.
However, the LLM degree program is also an option for lawyers who were educated abroad. It serves as a way to supplement their law degree with studies of U.S. law. This enables them to be eligible for licensure in the U.S.
Popular specializations for this easy masters degree include:
- Tax law
- Estate planning
- Health law and policy
- Human rights law
- Real property development
- International law
- Information technology
- Privacy law
It should be noted that an LLM is not a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. A JD is the degree students get from accredited law schools upon graduation. JD programs are very competitive. They are also very difficult.
An LLM, on the other hand, is among the easiest master’s degrees. This is because students already have extensive knowledge of the law before beginning this program.
Practically speaking, completing an LLM degree program doesn’t give candidates much of an edge in the job market. It also doesn’t have much effect on salary. As a result, critics may question if there’s a point to studying this field.
However, the specialized knowledge students gain in an LLM program can be of use when representing clients. Likewise, there can be good networking opportunities available as a result of completing this degree.
What Makes It Easy: A lack of required science and mathematics courses. It is also not required to begin practicing law, so there is less pressure.
The Hardest Part: Meeting admissions requirements. This includes having a Juris Doctorate and a license to practice law.
Career Opportunities: Attorney
Editor’s Note: Any prospective student who is contemplating graduate school should have realistic expectations about the ease of a master’s degree program. Any graduate degree program entails advanced studies into one or more disciplines and will require a great deal of work, even if it has a reputation for being an easy program of study.
Updated November 2020