Searching for the Best Online Degree

Online degrees help you improve your career options

Searching for the Best Online Degree

Searching for the best online degree can be time-consuming and frustration! I research the performance of new and existing online degree programs for universities across the U.S. and globally.  And it’s clear to me, after spending thousands of hours searching for online program details on university websites, that it is very difficult for students like you who are looking for a good degree program to comb through this mess of data too.

Searching for the right online degree is as frustrating as it is time-consuming. I’ve written about this topic extensively in this blogsite. Here are the problems in a nut-shell:

  • Universities don’t use a standard template to convey the details about their programs on websites and often leave out key program details that matter most to prospective students
  • There are no public, national databases that accurately capture these details
  • Websites that offer advice about online programs (called Online Education Directories in the education industry) require you to give your contact information while providing details on only a few programs.  They sell your contact information to marketing companies.
  • Thousands of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs have moved online in the past ten years and are competing against each other for students in a major SEO battle.

And, in my opinion, the main casualty in this battle is the student. Completing due diligence on your online program options is extremely difficult!

Just try this: search the words “Online Master of Business Administration” and see how many different online MBA programs, degree portals, and rankings websites are returned in the search.  At last count, there were over 490 online MBAs in the market today.  How can any potential MBA student possibly research all of these programs to be sure that the one they choose is best for them?

Find the Right Online Degree Faster

I created the Online Degree Database — to help students like you who are thinking about pursuing a college degree, and believe that an online program is the best fit for their personal and professional goals.  I spent the last two and a half years collecting and updating details from university websites for the most popular online college degrees. The result is the most comprehensive online degree data available in the market today.

And now, these data are available to you for free.  A master’s degree costs anywhere from $7,700 to $128,000. A bachelor’s degree costs more. The Online Degree Database lets you do a comprehensive search for the programs that meet your personal criteria. This is sea-change innovation in this process! Compare this to how Carfax improves outcomes for used car buyers, or Angie’s List helps consumers find a good contractor for home improvement projects.

Clearly, attaining a college degree is one of the most important achievements in your life. Studies show over and over again that getting a college education drives career success and personal satisfaction.  The Online Degree Database helps get you there faster.

Universities, work with the Online Degree Database directly to access unique and relevant intelligence about the online degree market. Contact Michelle at for more information.

Visit our Available Programs page today and get your free reports!

Getting The Best Information about Online Master’s Degrees

Researching online master's degrees takes significant effort!

In an ocean of information, find the best information available about online master’s degrees from a source designed with the student in mind. If you’ve searched for online master’s degrees, you know that there are many websites that say they have what you need. But these websites focus on advertising specific programs that pay them to generate leads. These websites are light on details about programs and heavy on trying to get your name and contact information. And they pull you off track of your goal to find the best program and potentially cause you to settle for less than the best program.

The Point…

Even businesses like U.S. News & World Report have jumped into the market to advertise online degree programs. They offer advice and suggestions for how to find the right online degree program. For example, in a recent post, they encourage students to conduct their own research about online master’s programs via each university’s website. This is easy advice to give.

But at Online Degree Database, we know that this type of research activity is incredibly time-consuming. University program websites can be difficult to navigate to find the relevant program details. It is difficult to sort through all of the individual websites to find the best program. You want to be sure that you’ve looked at all of the most likely candidate programs carefully.

We designed the Online Degree Database to meet your (prospective student) needs. Our website links to our comprehensive online master’s degree database that contains specific program details such as:

  • total tuition
  • location
  • delivery format (100% online or some on-campus visits required)
  • professional accreditation
  • no standardized tests in admissions requirements, and more

Use our web-enabled tools to search for programs based on these parameters. Then download the information you need for free. Save yourself hours, even weeks, of time searching for this information on your own. The Online Degree Database is the most comprehensive source of information available to students in the market today. And, we are not a marketing company or business that sells your information to prospective programs — we exist to serve the needs of students.

Save Time Today

The most important way to ensure you select the best program possible is to empower yourself. Don’t let the advertising for one program or the limited number of options provided by marketing websites pull you off course. Visit the Online Degree Database to see how we can help you begin your search for the best online master’s degree today!

If you work for a university with online degree programs, find out about our market and competitive intelligence reports by contacting!


Best Master’s Degrees?

What Matters Most to Online Students

What The ‘Experts’ Say

While reviewing articles on best master’s degrees, I found the Forbes’ article about Best and Worst Master’s Degrees for Jobs (2016). Especially interesting are the degrees that made the “Best” list.  According to the article, the Forbes’ ranking considered pay growth through mid-career, job satisfaction, stress, meaning derived from the work, and the projected employment growth of jobs associates with each degree. The number one best master’s degree for jobs is Biostatistics.

How common is the Master’s in Biostatistics?

Per the National Center for Education Statistics, there were only 646 master’s degrees reported in Biostatistics in 2015. For comparison sake, there were 108,493 MBAs reported the same year.

Columbia University, University of Michigan, Boston University, and Harvard University were the top producers of these degrees. Each of these universities granted more than thirty degrees that year. There were 56 total universities that reported awarding master’s degrees in Biostatistics. Most awarded a very small number of degrees (11.5 degrees per university, on average).

Is It Right For You?

What exactly is Biostatistics? The mid-career salary of $108,000 sounds impressive! So, I went to Columbia University’s website to learn about their Master of Biostatistics program. This program graduated the most Biostatistics master’s degree students in 2015 (fifty master’s degrees awarded).

Here’s what I learned:

  • Columbia’s website indicates that typical applicants are people with science backgrounds and/or experience in health, medicine, or science-related fields. This is important to consider, because you may have some prerequisite courses to take before you can enroll.
  • The Master of Science in Biostatistics at Columbia has five tracks (degrees) to choose from. These are: Accelerated Predoctoral Training Track, Clinical Research Methods, Patient Oriented Research, Pharmaceutical Statistics, Statistical Genetics, and Theory and Methods. You can also get a Master of Public Health in Biostatistics. I could not find the courses for these programs listed on the website, so it’s hard to know the difference between them.
  • The program website recommends that you start the application process one year in advance to allow sufficient time to compile materials and references. You must submit 3 letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, a current resume, and a 500-word personal statement.  These must be submitted by December 1st to be considered for the program that starts in the Fall of 2017. There isn’t a minimum GRE score requirement. But the ‘average scores’ of admitted students in last year’s program are provided for reference.
  • The MS in Biostatistics at Columbia costs $1,624 per credit hour (36 total credits), which is a total tuition of $58,464.

So, to recap, if I go with the ‘best’ master’s degree for jobs (according to Forbes), I’ll likely need to:

  1. take a few prerequisite courses
  2. jump over several key application hurdles (standardized testing is among the competitive entry requirements)
  3. pay upwards of $60,000

This program may be too difficult to enter and is pricey. So just to be sure I apply to the right programs for me, I better look at other programs too.

Finding one program’s details = one hour of your precious time

It took me about an hour to gather the information on the program at Columbia University from the website. Now, how long would it take to gather information for the remaining 50+ programs that offer this degree? And, importantly, which of these programs is online for working students who need to keep working to pay bills?

A quick google search indicates online master’s in Biostatistics programs at University of Florida (new in the Fall 2017) and Texas A&M University College Station.  A quick review of the available online program details in the Online Degree Database indicates that there are at least seven online Master of Public Health degrees with concentrations in Biostatistics. These are Johns Hopkins University, Loma Linda University, University of Memphis, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, and University of Southern California.

Gathering all of the details for these programs takes a full work-day’s effort…

There is a better way

Lists of best and worst master’s degrees from notable organizations (like Forbes) are helpful if you’re a prospective student.  But these lists are based on only a few considerations and data points.  It takes a lot of effort and careful thought to pick the right field for master’s study. Forbes only considers a handful of programs in their limited analysis. See my earlier blog posts for more ideas and a richer discussion on how to approach finding the right field of study for you.

Once you’ve decided on the best field of study, the Online Degree Database has all the information you need to create your short list of potential programs. Search for the degree types that are most relevant to you and download your Free Report.

Use our interactive tool to select program characteristics such as total tuition, delivery modality (100% online or low residency), admissions requirements, location, and more. Then download your free report which gives you the university name, degree name, and links to the program’s website so you can continue your search on the programs that fit your criteria.

Using the Online Degree Database is the smart way to go when shopping for the right online master’s degree.  It’s like using Carfax before buying your used car, or joining Angie’s List to find a reputable contractor for major home improvements!

Check out our Free Reports today!