What Are the Basics of an Online Master's Degree Program?

Distance learning master's degree programs are becoming increasingly popular, especially among working professionals who always wanted to continue their education but felt that they couldn't because of busy work schedules and time constraints. Read this article to discover the basic components of online master's degree programs.

The Basics

Master's degree programs are advanced opportunities for individuals to pursue education in a particular field of study. Most programs take approximately two years to complete and involve coursework and some research. Such programs are more specialized than bachelor's-level programs, because they allow students to concentrate on one particular subject. Master's-level students may be required to complete an original thesis in order to graduate. Online programs give students more flexibility and control when it comes to completing coursework and assignments.

Important Facts about Online Master's Degree Programs

Common Courses Accounting, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Library Science, Nursing
Programs M.A., M.B.A., M.S.
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree
Online Availability Yes

Coursework and Examinations

At the master's level, students generally receive and submit their coursework electronically and, in most cases, at their own pace. This is helpful to working professionals who may need to work the classes into their already busy schedules. The need for the student to physically be in the classroom is eliminated, because most online courses are asynchronous. Some examinations are completed using software that allows testing periods to be timed, while others may be administered by a local proctor.

Online Interaction

Although students are not present on-campus, online programs make it possible for them to interact with fellow students and faculty. Utilizing web-based forums and chat rooms, students can remain engaged in class discussions on a daily basis. They may also use this technology to ask questions or to seek clarification from professors.

Campus Visits and the Thesis

While many distance learning graduate programs may be completed entirely online, some schools may require students to make short, on-campus visits during their program of study. These visits allow students and faculty to interact in person, as is the case when faculty advisers and graduate students must work through thesis issues.

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:

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