How Does a Distance Learning College Degree Work?

Millions of college students choose to obtain their degree outside of the traditional method of attending live classes at a college or university. Continue reading for information about how a distance learning college degree program works.

Distance Learning Overview

Students pursuing a distance learning college degree must satisfy the same requirements as those who choose the traditional path to earn the same degree. Admissions requirements, credit hours, coursework and, in some cases, even the faculty for distance learning college degree programs are the same as for online and on-campus programs. Online and mail correspondence are the two types of distance learning methods used by many colleges and universities.

Important Facts about Distance Learning

Common Courses Anthropology, economics, geography, computer architecture, healthcare information systems, personal finance, art, public administration
Programs Certificates, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, personal improvement, continuing education, specialists
Online Availability Continually increasing number of choices
Possible Careers Network administrator, biologist, geologist, psychologist, forensic scientist, business manager, engineer, nurse

Online Distance Learning College Degrees

Most distance learning college degree programs are conducted online. In some programs, students log in at a specified time to a live feed of class discussions. Other programs allow students to access pre-recorded classes at the students' convenience. Students generally receive assignments posted on an online message board. Interaction with instructors and classmates is encouraged through chat rooms, e-mail and message boards. In many cases, core courses and electives are conducted entirely online, though some colleges' online distance learning degree programs might require students to attend a few live classes. These types of programs may be referred to as hybrid programs.

Correspondence Distance Learning College Degrees

While online delivery of classes and coursework is by far the most utilized method of distance learning, some colleges or individual professors prefer mailed assignments and tests. This is a great option for those without a computer or who have limited or no Internet access. Class materials are sent to students via U.S. mail. In some correspondence programs, students can still submit assignments electronically in addition to sending hard copies. In both online and correspondence distance learning, students might be required to take exams at a proctored site.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

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  • Colorado State University Global

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  • Louisiana State University Shreveport

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