Earning a graduate degree online means students have the flexibility and opportunity to balance academic goals with family or career demands.
There are many reasons a student may choose to pursue a graduate degree program online. Often times convenience and flexibility are factors that may influence the decision to select an online degree over a campus based program. But beyond the format decision, there are many other reasons students decide to continue their education.
According to the 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Report, the top 3 reasons are:
Online graduate degrees include online masters programs, online graduate certificates and online doctoral degree programs, there are also different features that can determine what type of degree you may pursue.
The first step in determining credibility for any school is to determine if the graduate school is accredited or not. Check to see if the online school is regionally accredited. Not all online schools are regionally accredited—though the vast majority are. Beyond the school being accredited, students should also research if their program of interest has specific programmatic accreditation. If the answer is yes, it is a good idea to lean toward those schools that have that specific graduate program accreditation.
Degrees earned from regionally accredited online schools are just as respected and accepted as degrees earned from traditional graduate schools.
Some online graduate schools are completely devoted to web-based learning and offer online graduate programs exclusively. Other universities may make their traditional programming available as an online graduate degree. Regardless of which type of school is offering the program you are interested in, it is important that you confirm that the school is regionally accredited. Why is accreditation important?
Among many reasons, two stand out as very important:
GradSchools.com partners with only accredited schools so you can be comfortable searching our site for your online graduate degree.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Study reported that more than two-thirds of graduate students feel their online graduate program was worth the investment of their time (73%) and money (69%).
With the variety of online graduate programs, there are a few features you might evaluate when choosing with online graduate school to attend. These are:
Beyond the fields of study listed above, the 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Report also reports the following as the top 11 most popular online graduate program majors:
|Education Specialist - Sport and Athletic Management||Northcentral University||PhD|
|M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology||Grand Canyon University||MS|
|MSN - Nurse Educator||Purdue University Global||MSN|
|Master of Arts in Teaching, Science Education (Secondary)||Western Governors University||MAT|
|Master - Healthcare Administration and Management||Colorado State University Global||N/A|
|Ph.D. in Psychology||Meridian University||PhD|
|MAOL - Nonprofit Leadership Concentration||Rockhurst University||N/A|
|Doctor of Education in Leadership||Spalding University||N/A|
|Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate||Johns Hopkins University||MS|
|Master of Science in Corporate Training and Communications||Purdue University||MCM|
|Ph.D. Behavior Analysis||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology||N/A|
|Master of Computer Science||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||MCS|
Did You Know?
About half of psychologists had a master’s degree in 2013 but another one-third of these workers had a doctoral degree. Those with a doctoral degree had an average annual wage that was 46 percent higher than that of psychologists with a master’s degree.
Online graduate programs are not all formatted the same way. A traditional graduate school may offer ‘live’ classes at one of their campuses that online students can ‘attend’ by logging in synchronously (at the same time) to be able to participate. Or, a completely online grad school may have asynchronous course material where students pace themselves. There could also be a mixture of these two formats. Ultimately, each university, whether it is a brick and mortar graduate school or an online graduate school, has different ways of formatting their online grad programs.
Yes, there are many online master degree programs to choose from. Most online master degree programs are offered through accredited programs and offer the same diploma as a traditional campus degree.
Some programs may be entirely online (100%), while others may be partially online, which might entail campus visits, residency or intensives. (e.g. online MFT programs).
Some online graduate degree programs may be full-time, others part-time. You might also find online graduate degrees that are offered in an accelerated format to appeal to executives (e.g. Accelerated online MBA programs).
In online grad programs where a laboratory or supervised practicum is required, students may be able to complete the requirements in their community (e.g. Online MSW programs).
Your computer is your access to online discussion, online resources (E-Books, video, your course management system and email). You may be required to update your software, meet specific hardware requirements or have a working email address. In terms of tech support, this should be stipulated by a graduate school and you should be able to access this information ahead of enrollment.
There are usually provisions for contacting faculty. An online student may be paired with a faculty member, to reach out via email, telephone, online chat or whatever is predetermined by your university and program.
An online graduate school may have agreements with your local library or have online resources. Some programs may supplement with textbooks.
Online does not mean easier. It is a learning format that works best for self-motivated students.
Many online graduate programs are accredited but some are not. All GradSchools.com partner schools are accredited but it is always a good idea to research on your own and double check. For those earning a degree from a lesser-known online school, researching accreditation is especially a good idea given the number of scams on the internet.