Online Master’s Degree Programs

Looking for a Master’s Degree that you can complete online? There are many decisions to be made from which schools to look at to specific degree competencies (online Master’s Degrees are often different in make-up from on campus degrees) to mode of delivery, to entrance requirements and the list goes on and on. While there are a seemingly mind-numbing array of choices it is actually a very positive factor as prospective students can often disregard geographical limitations (more about this factor later on) and find programs with the specific emphasis they are looking for.

Online colleges will have minimum requirements for enrollment in an online Master’s Degree program and will typically include a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree and possibly a course or two prior to acceptance into the Master’s program. Schools often want to make sure that potential candidates are coming into the programs with suitable academic skills to help ensure their success in a degree program. It would be quite difficult for someone who earned a Bachelor’s degree 5 years ago in English Literature to jump into a Master’s Degree program in the IT Administration or even a very similar major field of study to their undergraduate degree. The solution is the requirement of a few classes that teach what might be considered as foundational material to the actual Master’s Degree program.

This may sound like an unnecessary extra step but colleges want their students to be successful and complete their degree studies. This “weaning out” process can save prospective students a substantial amount of time, frustration, and money if they are indeed lacking in the foundational knowledge required for successful degree completion.

Online colleges utilize what’s known as “distance learning”, a term that has been around for a very long time. With the advent of the Internet of course, this distance learning has become more and more popular and with the corresponding growth in web based communication and teaching modalities, much easier as well. If any of you remember, “back in the day” there were many correspondence courses for a myriad of different skills, certificates and diplomas. These courses relied upon the mail service and were generally not given a whole lot of respect. Times have changed though and with chat rooms, bulletin boards, forums, webinars, live streaming video, etc., online educational experiences are better than ever. Even stalwart traditional institutions such as Stanford, Columbia, and Harvard have online degree offerings.

Some of the pros and cons of an online Master’s Degree are as follows:

Pros

  • Savings of time and money commuting to a college campus
  • Ability to work full-time while completing degree program
  • Ability to be somewhat self guided and self paced
  • Ability to choose a school and program without respect to geographic proximity

Cons

  • A lack of “community” with fellow classmates
  • The lack of “face to face” interaction with a professor or teacher
  • Fewer options when difficulties arise

These are just a few of the pros and cons that students identify when comparing the different types of programs. It should be noted that many schools try to establish online study groups or cohorts to duplicate the “community” feel of being in a classroom. In fact, a number of schools have a residency requirement wherein the students have to be on campus for a short period of time. It may be just once during their degree program or it could be a requirement each year. This is another factor in choosing a school and it’s program.

Costs vary of course from school to school but by most estimates you should expect to pay between $400 at the low end and $1000 per credit at the high end.

Graduation requirements vary from school to school as well and some programs give you a choice between a thesis project or another academic project.

Getting an Online Master’s Degree can be a perfect solution for someone who is working full time, has family obligations, or is somewhat isolated geographically. Make sure you do your homework before jumping into a program and be aware of the different requirements you may face.

What if you just can’t seem to get ahead in life?

I know how hard it can be when your stuck between a rock and a hard place. You want to go back to school so you can get a better job, a better life. But how do go to school when you have a job that you need to pay the bills? There is a way!

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