Thomas Edison State University By Thomas Edison State University • December 16, 2014

How Long Will It Take to Earn A Master's Degree Online?

Perhaps the number one question we receive from adults who are thinking about getting a graduate degree online is, “how long will it take me to earn a master’s degree?”

The answer: not long!

At Thomas Edison State University, most of our master's degree programs are 36 credits and can be completed on a part-time basis in approximately 18 months. When you enroll as a graduate student, you can also set your own pace and determine when you will finish. Maybe you are able to transfer previously earned graduate credits into a new master’s program, or earn graduate credit for what you already know through prior learning assessment, both of which can accelerate your degree. Or, if you are able, you can take courses on a more full-time schedule. Perhaps you have work and family responsibilities that will affect the amount of courses you can take in given time. Every student is unique.


Most graduate courses at Thomas Edison State University are offered four times during the year, in January, April, July and October. Graduate business programs offered by the School of Business and Management are offered six times per year, and graduate terms for business programs are eight weeks long. All other graduate terms are 12 weeks long. You can decide to earn your graduate degree in a longer or shorter timeframe if you wish, depending on your individual needs and goals. 

You can decide to earn your graduate degree in a longer or shorter timeframe if you wish, depending on your individual needs and goals. 

While online courses free you from the constraints of having to attend class at a specific time and place, you will be expected to work through a detailed week-by-week syllabus and complete assignments in the designated time. Graduate courses are reading, writing and research intensive, and require you to demonstrate advanced knowledge in both theoretical and real-world applications throughout your course work and online discussions. Hard work and initiative are absolutely necessary if you want to succeed.


A master’s degree can give you the competitive edge you need in today’s workplace. So it’s important to consider the amount of time it will take you to earn your degree and come up with a plan for advancing your career. Below, you can find an 18-month sample timeline for the master’s program that interests you so you can prepare for your next great professional opportunity.

Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Master of Arts in Educational Technology and Online Learning

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Master of Business Administration

Master of Public Service Leadership

Master of Science in Applied Science and Technology

Master of Science in Homeland Security

Master of Science in Human Resources Management

Master of Science Management

Master of Science in Hospitality Management  

Master of Science in International Business Finance

Thomas Edison State University

Written by Thomas Edison State University

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