2020 Most Affordable Online Master's in Mathematics

By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/19/2021
2020 Most Affordable Mathematics Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/19/2021

An online, advanced degree in mathematics introduces students to mathematical theory, while also training them to apply concepts such as statistics and calculus to solve real-world problems. An affordable master's in mathematics program can cost as little as $4,723 per year in tuition. This degree is designed to prepare graduates to work as mathematicians, who earn a median annual salary of $93,290.

With annual tuition under $20,000, the 18 online colleges listed below offer the most affordable master's in mathematics programs. We've also included information on common courses, careers, and whether this degree is truly worth the investment.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online bachelor's in mathematics degrees. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 West Texas A&M University $4,723
# 2 #2 University of North Alabama $5,950
# 3 #3 Indiana State University $5,951
# 4 #4 Central Methodist University $6,080
# 5 #5 Emporia State University $6,393
# 6 #6 Shawnee State University $6,592
# 7 #7 California University of Pennsylvania $7,890
# 8 #8 Sam Houston State University $9,283
# 9 #9 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $9,585
# 10 #10 University of Idaho $9,876
# 11 #11 Western Kentucky University $10,605
# 12 #12 Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus $13,345
# 13 #13 California State University-Fullerton $13,374
# 14 #14 The University of West Florida $13,853
# 15 #15 The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley $14,723
# 16 #16 University of Houston $15,648
# 17 #17 Texas A&M University-College Station $16,526
# 18 #18 North Carolina State University $19,425
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $4,723
Annual Tuition: $4,723
Annual Tuition: $4,723
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 61%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,356
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,039
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (806) 651-0000

Example Classes: Analyzing and Reporting Field Based Research, Biomathematical Modeling, Cryptography and Cryptanalysis, Ordinary Differential Equations, Problem Solving in Mathematics for Diverse Learners, Special Problems

#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $5,950
Annual Tuition: $5,950
Annual Tuition: $5,950
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Average SATs: 1015 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 700
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,331
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (256) 765-4100

Example Classes: Foundations in Advanced Mathematics, Group Theory, Rings and Fields

#3
#3

Indiana State University

Terre Haute (IN)
Annual Tuition: $5,951
Annual Tuition: $5,951
Annual Tuition: $5,951
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,894
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 880
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (812) 237-6311

Example Classes: Applied Linear Algebra, Graph Theory, Linear Programming and Optimization, Mathematical Modeling, Mathematics Research, Topology

#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $6,080
Annual Tuition: $6,080
Annual Tuition: $6,080
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,734
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 159
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Example Classes: History of Mathematics, Introduction to Complex Variables, Modern Algebra, Numerical Analysis, Proof in Mathematics, Writing Mathematical Documents including LaTex

#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $6,393
Annual Tuition: $6,393
Annual Tuition: $6,393
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Average SATs: 950 -1055
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 178
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,070
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (620) 341-1200

Example Classes: Complex Variables, Field Theory, Non-Euclidean Geometry, Optimization Techniques, Simulation Techniques, Vector Spaces

#6
#6

Shawnee State University

Portsmouth (OH)
Annual Tuition: $6,592
Annual Tuition: $6,592
Annual Tuition: $6,592
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 33
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (740) 354-3205

Example Classes: Abstract Algebra, Applied Regression, Quantitative Methods

#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $7,890
Annual Tuition: $7,890
Annual Tuition: $7,890
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Average SATs: 910 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,141
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,592
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (724) 938-4400

Example Classes: Advanced Multivariate Statistics, Advanced Nonparametric Statistics, Advanced Numerical Analysis and Empirical Modeling, Advanced Time Series and Stochastic Processes, Applied Cryptography, Data Mining and Simulation Modeling

#8
#8
Annual Tuition: $9,283
Annual Tuition: $9,283
Annual Tuition: $9,283
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,120
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,562
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (936) 294-1111

Example Classes: Research Project In Math Education, Seminar in Algebra For Teachers, Seminar in Analysis For Teachers, Seminar in Geometry For Teachers, Seminar Probability & Statistics for Teachers

#9
#9
Annual Tuition: $9,585
Annual Tuition: $9,585
Annual Tuition: $9,585
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Acceptance Rate: 77%
  • Average SATs: 1150 -1330
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 112
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,013
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (865) 974-1000

Example Classes: Algebra for Teachers, Analysis for Teachers, Discrete Math for Teachers, Probabilty and Statistics for Teachers, Seminar for Teachers

#10
#10

University of Idaho

Moscow (ID)
Annual Tuition: $9,876
Annual Tuition: $9,876
Annual Tuition: $9,876
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Average SATs: 1010 -1240
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 431
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 590
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (888) 884-3246

Example Classes: Computer Intensive Statistics, Consulting Practicum, Experimental Design, Models of Computation, Regression, Sample Survey Methods

#11
#11

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green (KY)
Annual Tuition: $10,605
Annual Tuition: $10,605
Annual Tuition: $10,605
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,256
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,120
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (270) 745-0111

Example Classes: Algebra from an Advanced Perspective, Geometry from an Advanced Perspective, History of Mathematics, Introduction to Analysis, Introduction to Probability and Statistics, Mathematical Modeling and Applications

#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $13,345
Annual Tuition: $13,345
Annual Tuition: $13,345
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 240
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 345
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (201) 692-2000

Example Classes: World of Mathematics: Algebra, World of Mathematics: Applications in the Real World, World of Mathematics: Data Analysis & Probability, World of Mathematics: Integrating Technology in Mathematics, World of Mathematics: Mathematics in Science, World of Mathematics: Numbers

#13
#13
Annual Tuition: $13,374
Annual Tuition: $13,374
Annual Tuition: $13,374
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Acceptance Rate: 46%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,220
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,066
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Phone #: (657) 278-2593

Example Classes: Applied Biostatistics, Bayesian Statistics, Categorical Data Analysis, Multivariate Analysis, Statistical Computing, Statistical Consulting

#14
#14
Annual Tuition: $13,853
Annual Tuition: $13,853
Annual Tuition: $13,853
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Average SATs: 1080 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,893
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,452
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (850) 474-2000

Example Classes: Capstone Projects in Mathematics, Matrix Theory, Numerical Analysis, Statistical Inference

#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $14,723
Annual Tuition: $14,723
Annual Tuition: $14,723
  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Average SATs: 950 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,368
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,229
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (956) 665-2011

Example Classes: Cryptology and Codes, Discrete Mathematics, Fourier Analysis, Functional Analysis, Group Theory, Topology

#16
#16

University of Houston

Houston (TX)
Annual Tuition: $15,648
Annual Tuition: $15,648
Annual Tuition: $15,648
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 61%
  • Average SATs: 1140 -1310
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,148
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 518
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (713) 743-1000

Example Classes: Axiomatic Geometry, Complex Analysis, Linear Algebra with Applications, Models of Computation, Regression and Linear Models

#17
#17
Annual Tuition: $16,526
Annual Tuition: $16,526
Annual Tuition: $16,526
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Average SATs: 1160 -1390
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 137
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,950
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (979) 845-3211

Example Classes: Communications in Math, Computational Linear Algebra, Linear Algebra, Numerical Analysis, Problem Survey, Seminar in Algebra

#18
#18
Annual Tuition: $19,425
Annual Tuition: $19,425
Annual Tuition: $19,425
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Average SATs: 1250 -1420
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 791
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,298
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (919) 515-2011

Example Classes: Applied Nonparametric Statistics, Applied Time Series, Fundamentals of Linear Models and Regression, Statistical Principles of Clinical Trials, Statistical Programming I

Overview of an Online Master's in Mathematics

With as many as 97 subject classifications, mathematics is an extremely broad field. A master's in this discipline focuses on the study of applied, computational, and theoretical mathematics. In turn, graduates can either pursue careers as professional mathematicians and statisticians, or enroll in a doctoral graduate program in mathematics.

Distance education is becoming increasingly common, making it easier for students to pursue a master's of science in mathematics online. An online degree program allows students to pace their learning and complete courses according to their own schedule. Many universities and schools offer online master's degrees in mathematics. These programs are typically 30-36 credit hours and are designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. Part-time students, however, tend to take longer to finish.


Common Master's in Mathematics Courses

Students pursuing master's degrees in mathematics study many of the same fundamental concepts and skills regardless of whether they attend online or on campus. These include both applied and theoretical mathematical concepts, with core courses covering topics in algebra, topology, statistics and calculus. For electives, programs often expect students to take courses in STEM areas such as computer science, computer engineering, and physics. Many programs also allow students to select between a thesis track, in which students complete a research project, and non-thesis track, which typically involves examinations at the end of the program. For a specialization, students can choose interdisciplinary fields — such as biomathematics — or areas such as mathematical education, actuarial mathematics, and probability.

Below are some of the courses commonly found in master's-level mathematics programs.

  • Applied Mathematics: This class covers various uses for math in different professional fields, such as physics, finance, engineering, and medicine. Faculty discuss the models and methods appropriate for each field. Topics can include computational tools, the effects of random processes, and the use of statistics.
  • Cryptography and Cryptanalysis: Students learn how numbers can be used to encode and decode information. Key topics include ciphers, key exchange, number fields, and cryptosystems. Most sections require students to decode examples of various ciphers and also create ciphers of their own.
  • Differential Equations: Faculty illuminate how differential equations can model system behavior. Students learn the differences between ordinary and partial differential equations and initial- and boundary-value problems. Some applications may be taught, though in less detail than in an Applied Mathematics course.
  • Foundations of Advanced Mathematics: This is an introductory course that covers the basic principles of several mathematical subdisciplines. Lessons may touch on abstract and linear algebra, elementary number theory, logic, and functions. Most higher-level courses will require this as a prerequisite.
  • Topics in Algebra: This course introduces graduate-level algebra concepts. These include group theory, field theory, and commutative and noncommutative algebra. Depending on the length of the course, faculty may discuss more advanced topics such as infinite fields and vector spaces.

Funding an Online Master's in Mathematics

Tuition rates for an online mathematics master's can vary significantly. The most affordable program costs $4,723 annually, but some programs can have annual tuition fees well above $30,000. In comparison, the average in-state tuition cost of a master's degree is $19,314.

Online master's students in mathematics have a number of available financial aid opportunities. The best options are funds that students don't need to repay, such as grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities. Online students can also apply for loans, preferably low-interest federal or state loans. Prospective students should check with each school's financial aid office to find out which aid programs the school participates in.

Most students start by filling out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine financial need and eligibility for aid. Students with undocumented immigration status may be able to complete a state-specific aid application because they may not be eligible for federal aid. These applicants should check the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administration website for financial aid programs in the state where they want to enroll.

Many colleges and private donors provide endowed scholarships and grants to mathematics students in an effort to increase nationwide math literacy. There are a number of general programs as well as opportunities for women and groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Below are a few of the programs available to students pursuing a master's in math.


For additional information, students can check out our resources about paying for a college degree, which include details about popular college savings plans, the student debt crisis, and more.


Careers for Graduates with a Master's in Mathematics

A master's in mathematics teaches students valuable quantitative, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. As such, it can open up careers in a variety of industries including business, research, education, and technology. The decision to specialize in a particular area, such as mathematical computer science for instance, can lead to opportunities in specific sectors such as information technology and research.

While a bachelor's may be enough to work in areas such as mathematics education, a master's degree is required to work as a professional mathematician in many settings, including those in business, healthcare, and government. Below is a list of careers graduates with a master's in mathematics can pursue.

Actuaries analyze risk to help businesses minimize their financial costs. They typically work in insurance, but also evaluate sources of uncertainty in other sectors such as government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), actuaries can make a median salary of $111,030 and, at 24%, job growth is significantly faster than average through 2030.

Biostatisticians collect and analyze biological data. They collaborate with other data scientists to draw general conclusions about living things, and their work is often important in developing new drugs or cures. The demand for biostatisticians, who earn a median salary of $92,270, is expected to increase by 8% through 2029.

High school math teachers cover a critical component of K-12 education. They introduce students to foundational mathematical subjects, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. High school math teachers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and all states require licensure or certification to work at public schools. According to the BLS, high school teachers earn a median salary of $62,870, and demand for these positions is expected to increase over the course of the next decade.

Mathematicians need a master's degree and work in many different industries. They use statistical concepts and software to solve problems for businesses and clients. They also communicate research findings to nontechnical audiences. Mathematicians earn a median salary of $93,230, and the job outlook for this role is expected to increase 33% by 2030.

Survey researchers use opinion polls, interviews, and other data collection techniques to discover what people think about a variety of topics. Their work can range from conducting polls during an election year, to understanding why people prefer a particular consumer product. Survey researchers earn a median annual salary of $59,870.


Is an Online Master's in Mathematics Worth it?

Whether a master's in math is worth it will depend on your career goals, previous experience, personal interests, finances, and other responsibilities. A master's degree in math can open the door to any number of highly paid jobs in finance, business, and technology. It may help to consider some of the following pros and cons of pursuing your mathematics degree online.

Potential Advantages

  • Graduates with a master's degree in math have high earning potential. Median salaries for these positions range from $86,200 to $111,030, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While a master's degree is not required for most entry-level roles in these fields, it can qualify you for higher salaries and advanced positions.
  • Math majors learn skills that are applicable for a variety of different careers. Data from Payscale shows that people who earn their master's in math also go on to become data scientists, software engineers, data analysts, and mathematics teachers. Depending on your previous education, experience, and career goals, a master's degree in math may help you secure one of these positions.
  • Online master's programs offer a range of conveniences and greater flexibility. Online courses are often more affordable than campus-based programs and can be well-suited for students who need to fit classes around a busy schedule or prefer to work independently.

Potential Disadvantages

  • Learning remotely isn't for everyone. To be successful, distance learners should be self-disciplined, able to manage their time effectively, and have the technical skills needed to operate in a remote environment.
  • There may be a more relevant master's degree that will help you better reach your professional goals. For instance, if you hope to teach mathematics, a master's of education with a concentration in this field is a better option. Alternatively, if you're interested in working with data or in a business area such as marketing - but still want an understanding of mathematical concepts - a master's in applied statistics may be a better choice for a degree.

If you hope to become a mathematician or find a career path where a master's degree will give you an edge, this degree is likely to be a good investment for you.