Online Master’s in Web Development Program Guide
| Victoria Leigh
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An online master's in web development typically requires an 18- to 24-month commitment. Students complete advanced coursework in front-end development, back-end development, and information research methods.
Web developers earned a median annual salary of $77,200 as of 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of earners in the field bring home median salaries of over $146,430 a year. Some graduates teach web development courses at technical schools and community colleges.
The top 10% of earners in the field bring home median salaries of over $146,430 a year.
Studying web development online offers a flexible option for degree-seekers who face difficulty committing to an in-person class schedule. Learners who cannot relocate for graduate school may also benefit from remote learning.
What to Expect From a Master's in Web Development Online Program
On-campus and online master's in web development programs share many similarities. The same instructors lead courses in both formats, and students complete the same coursework. Tuition typically costs the same amount. Graduates hold the same credentials regardless of how they choose to study.
However, online graduate school differs from in-person learning in several key ways. Scheduling and course delivery represent two important factors. We explore these differences in depth in the section below.
How Is an Online Master's in Web Development Different From an On-Campus Program?
Whether you earn your master's in web development online or on campus, some key factors remain the same. Similarities include completion time (generally 18-24 months), admission requirements, and accreditation. The program formats reflect several key differences:
|Online Programs||On-Campus Programs|
|Emphasizes convenience and learning flexibility||Emphasizes structure and in-person networking|
|Takes place in a remote environment, where professors and students engage independently from their offices and homes||Takes place in a traditional classroom environment shared with professors and peers|
|Communication primarily takes place via email, message boards, phone, and video conferencing||Communication primarily takes place via face-to-face conversation and email|
|Allows students to study on their own time while meeting broader deadlines throughout the semester||Requires attendance at scheduled meeting times; students must commute to campus|
|Tends to attract working professionals and adults with families||Tends to attract younger students, often fresh from their undergraduate study|
|Students cover the cost of tuition, books, and supplies||Students cover the cost of tuition, books, supplies, and transportation|
While remote students enjoy the freedom to study where and when they choose, they may miss out on some on-campus socializing and networking benefits. Fortunately, many online students begin graduate school several years into their careers, making these networking opportunities less vital for success.
Ultimately, the choice to study web development online or in person is up to each individual learner. Both formats provide a strong education and offer unique benefits and challenges.
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Delivery Formats for Online Web Development Degrees
After deciding to pursue an online master's in web development, students may need to make choices about program format. Online web development master's degrees typically follow a fully online model, but some schools offer a hybrid learning option. Hybrid formats combine in-person and remote instruction.
Key differences between fully online and hybrid learning formats include:
|Requires no on-campus participation||Requires limited, scheduled participation on campus|
|Limits the ability for students to network and socialize||Enables greater networking and socialization opportunities|
|Provides maximum flexibility to learn anywhere in the world with an internet connection||Less flexible, with commuting required throughout the semester|
Online learning management systems like Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle allow schools to provide easy access to syllabi, interactive course materials, and communication platforms. Schools use these learning management systems to deliver either synchronous or asynchronous courses. Compare these two formats below:
|Scheduled courses require students to log in to their learning management system at specific times||No set meeting times; students can view lectures and materials at their convenience|
|Often uses live video and audio conferencing, allowing for real-time conversation between students and instructors||Typically does not require webcam or microphone connectivity; students communicate via email, live chat, and message boards|
|Prioritizes interaction and replicating face-to-face learning||Prioritizes student flexibility and convenience|
Asynchronous courses are generally the preferred format for online tech degrees. Note that asynchronous courses are not self-paced. Students still need to meet specific assignment deadlines throughout the semester.
Accreditation and State Authorization for Online Degrees
Before committing to any online master's in web development, students should take the time to review a prospective school's accreditation status. Accreditation confirms that a school meets certain academic standards. Institutions can pursue either regional or national accreditation.
Regional is the oldest and most widely recognized form of accreditation. This credential holds more rigorous standards than national accreditation. Six regional accrediting organizations provide accreditation to graduate schools in different states:
- Higher Learning Commission
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Commission of Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission
While regional accrediting bodies review schools in specific geographic areas, national accrediting bodies review institutions across the country. National accreditation agencies typically focus on vocational and religious schools. Many nationally accredited institutions operate under a for-profit model.
State authorization can also impact an online student's choice of schools. To offer distance education to learners in other states, an institution must meet requirements for each state it seeks to operate in. Schools without authorization in a particular state cannot accept online students from that state.
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is a nonprofit working to simplify the state authorization process and expand student access to education across the country. More than 2,200 institutions across 49 member states participate in NC-SARA.
How Much Will an Online Master's in Web Development Cost?
Graduate school tuition for computer science disciplines typically ranges from $300-$1,000 per credit. More affordable web development master's programs can cost $10,000 or less. The most costly programs can exceed $35,000.
Factors impacting tuition prices include school prestige, student residency (in state vs. out of state), and institution type (public vs. private). In general, public institutions charge less than private institutions. In-state learners usually pay lower costs than out-of-state learners. Some schools offer in-state tuition to all online students regardless of residency.
Graduate school tuition for computer science disciplines typically ranges from $300-$1,000 per credit.
Online learners may also need to pay application and standardized testing fees. Most students will need to buy or rent textbooks. Web development enrollees without a current computer model may also need to upgrade their equipment.
To help fund their education, graduate students can take advantage of scholarships, loans, and state and federal aid. Employed learners can ask their employers about tuition reimbursement options.
Why Get Your Master's in Web Development Online?
Choosing an online master's in web development offers several benefits, primarily increased flexibility than in-person programs. For some students who live far from their desired campus, learning online may be the only option.
However, attending graduate school at a distance can present a few drawbacks. Consider the following pros and cons:
- Flexibility to learn from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, often on your own schedule
- Offers financial savings by avoiding costs associated with commuting or relocation
- Online students can often maintain a full-time job while they study
- Some programs may require logging in at specific times for synchronous classes, or limited in-person attendance for hybrid courses
- Inability to take advantage of in-person networking and other benefits like graduate student assistantships
- Communication is often limited to email, message boards, and phone calls, which may leave some learners feeling disconnected
Choosing an Online Master's in Web Development Program
Many considerations go into choosing an online master's in web development. The following key factors may impact your school and program selection:
- School Size
- Consider your learning priorities. Smaller schools tend to offer more favorable student-to-teacher ratios with easy access to instructors. However, larger schools may carry greater name recognition with employers.
- Dedication to Online Education
- The best institutions for remote learning treat online education as a priority rather than an afterthought. Look for schools with dedicated teams of online professionals, extensive online support services, and successful distance education track records.
- Difficulty of Admission
- Programs maintain different undergraduate GPA and work experience requirements. Additionally, some graduate schools require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT test scores, while others do not.
- Program Cost
- Consider how much you are willing to spend. At the low end, you can earn an online master's in web development for $10,000 or less. Private institutions with high prestige might charge $35,000 or more.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. Students can earn a master's in web development online from many respected graduate schools across the country. Online degrees offer all the benefits of advanced education with enhanced flexibility.
Not necessarily. According to the BLS, web developers do not need a college degree to pursue entry-level jobs, though many positions require a bachelor's. Earning a master's degree can open the door to advanced careers in the field.
The cost of an online web development varies by school. Per-credit graduate tuition can range from $300-$1,000. Total program costs can vary from under $10,000 to over $35,000.
Online education provides a well-respected alternative to in-person learning. A 2018 Northeastern University study revealed that 61% of human resources leaders believe online credentials are of equal quality to in-person study.
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