What Is a Distance Degree?

A distance degree is a way for students to complete their college education within a convenient timeframe and schedule, without regular visits to a college campus. The length of a distance degree program and the types of courses offered may vary between schools. Many online and traditional schools across the country offer distance degrees.

Definition of a Distance Degree

Quite simply, a distance degree is earned by a student who does not attend class or college in the traditional, face-to-face manner. The California Distance Learning Project explains that distance degree programs include an instructional delivery system that allows for the separation of the instructor and student for most of the educational process. Effective distance learning does require communication between students and teachers, though.

Important Facts About Distance Learning

Programs Law/Government, Health/Safety, Science/Technology
Continuing Education Masters Programs are offered at schools such as Florida State University, University of Houston, and Ball State University
Online Availability The typical means of a distance degree utilizes web-based technology
Prerequisites High school diploma/GED, sometimes professional work experience

Forms of Distance Degree Programs

Distance degree programs may vary in format, but often, as the student, you're in control of your own learning process and pace. Distance learning programs are offered through online schools and traditional colleges, both for-profit and no-for-profit. Many of these programs use technology and other media to distribute information and evaluate coursework. Some schools offer distance degree programs without the use of recent technology. These schools have mail degree programs in which students work from textbooks and written assignments, mailing their work to the appropriate instructor when finished. Most distance degree programs, however, utilize many online tools, including:

  • E-mail
  • Social networks
  • Podcasts
  • Web conferencing
  • Online forums

Trends in Distance Degree Education

Gaining education or training through a distance degree program is a growing trend. Students of all types - from high school to non-traditional students looking to update their skills - are partaking in this education option. Distance learning offerings at schools like Arizona State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Florida are representative of a trend toward distance degrees being offered by large traditional universities, in addition to those available through all-online institutions. With more options available, market-savvy students can shop around for degrees that immediately fit their needs.

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.

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