Kory Schreier By Kory Schreier • September 18, 2023

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 your schedule allows, you can take courses on a more full-time basis. Perhaps you have work and family responsibilities that will affect the number of courses you can take in a 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. 

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. Visit the master’s program homepage below to see a sample timeline and learn more about the program that interests you!

MA in Educational Leadership

MA in Educational Technology and Online Learning

MA in Liberal Studies

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Master of Public Service Leadership

Master of Science

MS in Accounting

MS in Cybersecurity

MS in Data Science and Analytics

MS in Healthcare Management

MS in Homeland Security

MS in Human Resources Management 

MS in Information Technology

MS in Management

MS in Management – Public Service Careers

MS in Nursing

If you're ready to embark on this enriching venture or have questions about any of our graduate programs, I'm here to help! Contact me today for more information and learn how to get started on earning your graduate degree. Email me at Kschreier@tesu.edu, call me at 609-940-1862 or book a time on my calendar here.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated for accuracy.

Kory Schreier

Written by Kory Schreier

Kory Schreier serves as a graduate recruiting manager at TESU. With a passion for helping other excel, she enjoys assisting students learn, grow and adapt. She holds a master’s degree in human resource management and a dual bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology from TESU as well as an associates degree in public relations from Ocean County College. Connect with her via email at Kschreier@tesu.edu.

Subscribe to the Thomas Edison State University Blog and get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox.

!-- start Main.js DO NOT REMOVE -->