Online Graduate Degree Program Comparison
Comparing online graduate programs should start with a decision about the program and discipline that is desired and then with the various schools that feature those programs. A side-by-side comparison of the online graduate degree program should look at the following factors:
- What are the actual programs that are offered?
- Is the school accredited?
- What are the prerequisites for the program that is desired?
- Is financial aid offered?
- What are the total costs involved in the graduate degree program?
Additional Degree Expenses: A Closer Comparison
An online graduate degree program will start with the cost of the course work itself and will also include additional costs which will vary from school to school. For instance, one school may have costs which will cover books, additional course work, labs and other necessary expenses that are not part of the tuition. Other online graduate programs may include some of these fees in the tuition itself. Still other online graduate degree schools may reduce some of the fees that are required for certain students.
Another expense that can be seen as part of the graduate degree program online is the fee for a new or upgraded computer. It is important to make sure that the computer that will be used for the bulk of the class work is fast enough to handle the online classroom as well as having the right programs already in place. Most schools will explain connection speed and operating system requirements on their website. Questions can be directed to the admissions office.
The Types of Classes that are Offered as Online Graduate Degree Programs
There are some disciplines that are more widely represented in online schooling and education than others. Accounting and similar courses have a larger selection in the world of online graduate degrees than others do, however, this is changing quickly. While not all schools are offering online graduate degree programs, many of them are beginning to, especially since it is so cost-effective to do so.
It is important to investigate the many kinds of programs that are available, especially if it is to be part of the continuation of a degree or career move.
Accreditation is as Important as Selection and Options
A school that is not accredited may not be viewed as a viable option for a degree. If a student starts a program at a school that does not have online degree programs that are fully accredited and then wants to transfer midway through, the courses may or may not be credited. A degree from a school that is not accredited may be largely ignored, especially if it is used to apply for admission to even further education.
There are many online graduate degree programs, so it is important to check for the right course for the right degree. It is important to make sure that the course work will give the right degree as desired for the career track that is planned by the individual.
Finally, for those who need financial aid, it is important that the school be fully accredited because the financial aid service will not approve aid for those schools that are not. Aid may cover the additional expenses, such as books and lab fees, as well.
Time and Schedule Requirements
Students need to consider the time requirements for different online graduate degree programs. Some online graduate programs require synchronous time, which means students need to “be online when the class happens.” While these types of programs give students greater opportunities to interact with professors and other students live, they come at the cost of flexibility in scheduling.
An online graduate degree program can involve different types of courses and scheduling, depending on the school in question. For instance, some schools schedule one course at a time, with each course lasting only four to five weeks, while other schools may schedule online courses like traditional courses instead. In the former, one class may be ending just as another course is getting ready to start.
Students must check the method of delivery of the course content. Is there any flexibility in delivery? Can they provide you with DVD’s in addition to the content delivered online? Is the course content available in forms that are compatible with different devices such as iPods, iPhones and other mobile devices.
Doing a comparison for online degree programs is not as complex as it sounds. There are plenty of resources available online, and admission counselors for online graduate degree programs are can provide further details that you may need.
Finally, special attention needs to be made towards enrollment deadlines, and ensure that the online degree program that is chosen will further your career goals.