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My Blog on Online Graduate School, and on Higher Education - Page 1

Note: These articles are here as useful information for those seeking a graduate school education online. They may be subject to updating and the addition of more text/information over time.

Post: AACU Report Found That Liberal Arts Majors Who Earned a Good Income Later in Their Career Went to Grad School.
A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education) found that although liberal arts majors make less than professional majors right out of college, their salaries are competitive with the other majors later in their career if they "Go to graduate school": .

Post: What Is It Like to Take College or Graduate Courses by Distance Learning / Online? (dated: January 24, 2014)

There is no simple answer for that because there is huge variation between schools.

Some schools have "asynchronous" classes, where the classes don't actually have set meeting times, rather the students post their input, like on a comment board. In other schools, students attend actual ongoing campus classes, by video feed over the internet. Still another pattern is "competency-based" where you might not exactly "attend" classes, but you have to perform well-designed tasks instead. And there are correspondence-style courses that are largely self-paced (you, largely determine when you turn in your assignments, allowing for required deadlines) and other schools have classes that are almost entirely automated, so you are mostly interacting with software rather than professors or other students.

The time allowed to complete courses varies as well, since many schools have accelerated classes that last only six to seven-and-a-half weeks, while others conduct classes of full semester length, 15 or 16 weeks. Competency-based and self-paced classes may have course completion deadlines of six months or more, but then they allow you to complete the course much-much sooner if you want.

Given all the variations in class length and conditions, it is a good idea to decide what will work best for you, and look for a school with that style of class. I liked accelerated classes myself, because I needed the feeling that I'm making progress, and I preferred taking one class at a time. However, if you have a lot of potential interruptions in your life, perhaps the slower paced, semester-long classes would work better for you. Competency- based, correspondence, or self-paced programs are likely to work well for those with very disciplined personalities ... those who do not need the formal structure and pacing of attending class on a schedule.

You should expect an amount of work in a three-semester-hour class to be equal to or greater than the amount you would face if you were going on campus. Graduate school classes are usually about 1/3 to 1/2 more demanding than the comparable classes you took as an undergrad, but that also varies quite a bit, for example, a given class may require twice the effort you are used to giving, the next half as much, depending on the subject-matter, professor, and school. But, don't be discouraged ... if you are admitted to the school you are probably capable of doing the work ... I just don't want you to underestimate the amount of work. Consider also ... it can help a lot if you are a "skilled-student" ... as an undergrad you probably learned how to accomplish school work effectively and efficiently, and you bring those already developed skills with you to grad school.

As a "skilled-student" you are likely to know how to to look at the requirements in a class syllabus and figure out which are really requirements that are going to impact your grade, and which are more flexible. I took a grad school class once that had a 200 page reading assignment that was supposed to prepare me to write a 10 page paper, which was the only graded assignment for that section of the course ... so there was a little overkill there in terms of the volume of reading in that course.

In grad school, "B" is a passing grade ... literally ... so expect to have to do not less than "B" work to complete your graduate degree. You want to get all the "A"s you can, of course.

Post: You May Be Able to Use In-School and Outside-of-school Activities to Enrich Yourself and Your Degree, Plus Prime Your Post-degree Job Search (dated: January 20, 2014)

Being in grad school, including online, can open doors of opportunity that ordinarily you might not even know to look for. But if you are aware that such opportunities may exist, and you seek such opportunities, your graduate school education may give you an extra boost beyond a standard degree. For example, you may be able to choose research topics for class papers, thesis, or a dissertation that enable you to seek contacts, or gain knowledge or experiences that can clarify your career interests or provide specific job qualifications. For example, if you think you might be interested in working at a community college or in a museum, choice of a research topics on community college or museums may provide you with not only extra knowledge of these institutions, but perhaps a reason to contact people from these institutions. You may find that you can meet influential people, based on your status as a student, and make contacts or find out information about career opportunities or inside information. Completing just the standard degree requirements, is great, but consider that by the time you graduate you may also be able to develop some desirable extra credentials that can help you prepare for great after school employment, or just ease your way into the type of job/career you desire. Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article on this idea ( ).

Post: MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Credit Program Snags (dated: January 20, 2014)

The CHE ( ) reported that a program to allow college credit for students who completed selected MOOC has stalled due to a lack of students signing up for it. I wonder how many students at the 7 colleges involved were actually eligible for such a program. That is, I wonder how many students were there at those colleges who had already completed one of the selected MOOC, and could therefore claim credit for it. Perhaps students could have taken one of the MOOC after the program was announced? Would it be too disruptive for an on campus student to take a MOOC, in lieu of an on campus course, when the student is already present on campus to take courses? In any case, not many participated in the program, and the program is being modified.

Post: Additions to the Website (dated: January 14, 2014)

I have recently added links to the Adler School of Professional Psychology, and American University.

The Adler School of Professional Psychology is a nonprofit, independent graduate school in Chicago. (I read that this school will be changing its name to Adler University soon.) The school was named in honor of Alfred Adler, a great, historic psychology theorist in community psychology. The degrees offered include Master degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology; Psychology/Military Psychology; and Criminality. I like that the Adler School of Professional Psychology has an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited doctoral program on campus because it seems to me that the doctoral program might be a logical next step for an online student completes the Master's online. Having an APA approved doctoral degree program on campus implies that the faulty and school have a high-level of recognition in the psychology community. APA only accredits doctoral programs, per ce, however schools that have such an accredited doctoral program gain credibility overall.

American University is a not-for-profit traditional university that has very good name recognition, especially around DC, and on the East Coast. Their online degree programs I list on this site include a Master degree in Strategic Communication, and a Master in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I think that someone who works for the Federal government in DC, or who plans to work for the Federal government in DC would be especially likely to benefit by earning their Master degree from American University.

Post: Choosing an Online Grad School. (Updated on 12/10/2013)

If I were advising someone face-to-face in choosing an online grad school it would be much different than writing an article on it. I would be asking the person many questions, for example, because making a good choice requires specific knowledge of the individual. There is no one-size-fits-all best choice of grad school. The right choice depends on you, your motivation, your wants, your situation, and your future plans. However it is possible to describe some of the main factors that go into such a choice and that is what I will do in this article.

The purpose of articulating these factors is really to help you to clarify these factors in your own mind, and to provide ideas to help you formulate questions to ask schools you are interested in. If you request information from grad schools on this web site you will be receiving a packet of information from the school, and you may receive a phone call from the school. You are not under any obligation to answer questions, however since the school has gone to the trouble of providing the information you should acknowledge requesting the information, and acknowledge having a least a general interest in the school. But, consider this ... when they call you, you have them on the phone and you can ask them specific, and perhaps even pointed questions about the specific degree program(s) you are interested in. The information packet answers general questions that pertain to everyone, but having a representative of the school on the phone can enable you to ask the specific questions that pertain to you. So talking to the school is really an opportunity for you to get specific answers. (You could also tell the school representative that you will talk to them later, after you have scanned the info package and have had some time to develop some questions for them. That's a fair thing to do and may give you some extra time you need. )

Below are key factors I see in choosing an online grad school. I put each factor in the form of a question, and they really can be understood as questions to which you need an answer. In most cases the answers may come partially from the school and partially from you because you are the only one who knows what you want and expect. If you have a well-formed idea of what you want, or what you can accept, you will be in a better position to make a good choice, and you are more likely to know it when you have found what you want.

Will the school accept any existing graduated school credits you may have? If you have many such credits you will want to ask about that early.

Is the school accredited? Accreditation is essentially a form of pre-approval of the school that assures students ( and those who hire it's graduates) that the school is genuine and is capable of teaching students what they need to learn. In the US the key form of accreditation is called regional accreditation, because the independent organizations that give the accreditation evolved separately within each region of the country. Today these regional organizations cover the entire country (and some foreign countries as well) so that they comprise a national system of authenticating colleges and universities. Regional accreditation is "institutional accreditation" because it is "institution- wide", in other words it covers the entire school, all departments. The departments within the school may also have their own separate, advanced accreditation, as discussed on the accreditation page of this website, and on the introductory page. I urge you to make sure that any school you select has regional accreditation, because that assures you that you are getting a widely-recognized and accepted degree. That is why I put only regionally accredited schools on this website.

Does the school have the recognition you need? Accreditation is vital for the credibility of your degree, but the prestige of the school your degree is from can also be a huge factor. If you are in a high prestige and highly lucrative career situation, you may want to consider the prestige-level of the school, and the general recognition that the school may have in your field, region, and company. It is a good idea to talk to others in your company or career field to find out what schools may be a highly sought after. A top rung, state-nameplate university, such as California State, Colorado State, or Florida may be what you need, but prestigious private universities such as Boston University, University of Southern California, or Northeastern University may be the better fit where they have a high-level of recognition in your company or career field. Upscale degree programs are likely to cost more, however it is safe to say that grad school in general (including grad school online) is not cheap, so although some online degree programs cost more than others the long term value of the degree, including it's name-recognition value, may outweigh short-term cost. When a hiring committee goes into final decision-making process, they are probably only going to choose one candidate for the job, and you want to be competitive. Having said all that ... if your main concern is just that the degree should be a credible, accredited degree then just about any online graduate school listed on this website could serve you well, since they all have regional accreditation. Indeed, there are many career and job situations where just having the advanced, credible, graduate degree is the key factor. You may want to consider Western Governors University, which is a "competency-based" program (meaning there is more than one way to earn credit) because Western Governors University is an award-winning and regionally accredited university that has the potential to save you quite a bit of money. Liberty University is another economical and excellent choice, and it is currently one of the biggest and fastest growing online degree institutions. Also, Liberty is widely-known, and it is a nonprofit university with a regular residential campus, which is a major plus. (The universities I mentioned in the paragraphs above are featured universities on this site, currently.) It is a good idea to request information from a number of schools.

Does the program have the degree level, and major subject / department you want? One factor to consider is that if you are interested in earning a doctoral or educational specialist degree online, you will have to earn a Master degree first, and further, most online doctoral or educational specialist degree programs will only accept students who already have an appropriate Master degree. If you do not yet have your Master degree, but you plan to earn a doctorate online, it may help you to choose an online grad school for your Master's that also offers the specialist or doctorate degree you want to earn. That way you can better assure that the grad school will accept the Master degree as qualifying for their doctoral or specialist program. Also, you will have the opportunity to impress the grad school with your scholarship while earning the Master degree, so as to better assure they will accept you into the doctoral or specialist program later.

Will the program help you stay motivated? Although it is wise to pick a degree program whose graduates are in demand and receive high pay, it is also wise to pick one in which you have a true interest, and that you will enjoy studying. Your interest and enjoyment of the subject matter can be what keeps you going to complete the degree. But if you become bored, or the study requirements begin to get overly monotonous, you might decide to withdraw before finishing. So it is wisest to find a program that offers you some enjoyment of the subject matter as well as the desired career boost.

Will the school admit you?

Does the school have the course scheduling you need? Online courses may last from 5-15 weeks for a three semester hour course, what schedule will work best for you? One advantage of a short schedule course is that there is less time between the start of the class and the final exam, or project. It may be easier to remember the material you learned in the first week of the course if the final exam or project is just five weeks later. On the other hand with a five-week long class you will have very little room for errors, or slip-ups in the schedule, you really have to try hard keep up every week. But taking that one short course at a time allows you to concentrate on just that one course, which may simplify your schedule compared with taking two long, 15-week courses at the same time. Hopefully, you will have a good idea of what type of schedule is likely to work best for you given the other demands in your schedule. If your existing schedule is largely in your own control with relatively few outside demands, the short class format may work better, but if there are many influences / demands on your time, the longer schedule may be the one for you that gives you better flexibility.

What can you afford? / Do they have useful financial aid?

Will the degree program have the career payoff you want?

What do you want out of it? It's better to specify, at least in your own mind, why you want the degree and what you want from it. Keeping your own motivation and desire in mind can help to keep you motivated if the going gets tough.

One very well-known reason to earn a graduate degree is that you may be able to earn higher wages. Recent research by Georgetown University does show that graduate degree holders average much higher earnings than those with just the bachelor degree. However, you may have additional reasons for wanting to earn the advanced degree.

If you want a credential for a specific career-path, and that credential requires a degree, you want to make sure that the degree you are going to earn will qualify for the credential. A good example of such a credential could be a "Licensed Professional Counselor" or LPC, but of course there are many types of occupational state licenses that you may have in mind. If you are planning to get such a license, it is best to ask any school you are considering if their degree will qualify you for the license you want in your state. Also, it is a good idea to contact the license granting authority, probably a state government office or agency, to confirm that the degree program you have in mind qualifies.

It is a good idea to study the career field you want to work in to find out if there are hidden, or overt, degree requirements. For example many librarian jobs require a degree from a degree program that is accredited by the American Library Association. It is not that there is a state license involved, however some employers may demand a certain accreditation.

School districts sometimes give teachers raises if they earn an advanced degree, so if you are earning the degree for that purpose you will want to confirm that the online degree program is eligible, and normally you can do that by contacting the human resources department in your district.

If you need a prestigious degree in order to advance to a high level in your company or the government, you have to consider that factor in choosing a grad school, and there are prestigious institutions, such as the University of Southern California, that offer degree programs online. Prestigious degree programs are likely to cost more, so you want to choose well.

It is a good rule of thumb to choose an online degree program at an institution that is relatively close, and well-known in the area where you plan to work. If you can say you got your degree from an institution in your city, state, or region that has instant name recognition, then when people ask you about the degree you won't have to explain where the school is, or when it was you lived in a distant state. Getting your degree from an institution that is within a day's drive of your home may also help if you should ever want to meet with people from the school face-to- face, or if you wanted to attend a school function. You may at some point decide that you want to take a course in person at the school, and you may have the option to take some courses in person if the school is relatively nearby.

Do you already know where you want to go? If there is a school you already prefer, I'd advise you to investigate that school first. If it offers what you want and you are comfortable with it, you might consider whether you have already made up your mind. For example, if your alma mater offers relevant online degree programs, and you feel good about it, you might save yourself some time and effort by either ruling it out completely, or else just choosing it up-front, before investing a lot of time in looking at other schools.

(Check back for future updates.)


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Learn About Experiments in Psychology, A WebQuest is a online learning experience that teaches concepts that are used in psychology experiments.

Find Your ONLINE GRADUATE SCHOOL is a source of information on graduate degree programs where you take the courses online.
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Note 1: The Top American Research Universities; Lombardi, Phillips, Abbey, and Craig; The Center for Measuring University Performance at Arizona State University and and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9856170-2-8.

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Colleges, universities, other training/education concerns or others are invited to advertise on this site by email to College or university personnel are welcome to send email to confirm, update, or correct the accuracy of their information. Please specify if your degree can be earned "all online". Please contact me to nominate/submit/suggest an additional academic, career development, business, corporate, university, or college url for this site, or if you have other comments. You can reach me, Bart Schuster, M.S., by email at Please include "Suggest URL" in the subject. I may not be able to answer all email.

Additional Notes: I intend to include on this site colleges and universities that apparently have (at least) regional accreditation, however the presence of a university, college, or other site on this page is not an endorsement or recommendation. Grad School Links are here only to present possible college and university sites that may be of interest to some of those seeking an accredited online or distance graduate school degree. The site is primarily concerned with degree programs, although you may find certificate programs, and information on non-degree-seeking classes or courses. So, this site may be useful to those seeking a class, course, or certificate. You may find that a college or university is presented redundantly on this site. This site has pages that are dedicated to specific areas of interest. There is a page for Business degrees, and others for Education, Engineering / Technology / Computer, doctorates, accreditation organizations, and new programs. A graduate degree, also termed a postgraduate degree, may be a master degree, such as a Master of Arts (M. A.), Master of Science (M. S.), or Master of Business Administration (MBA),or doctorate degree, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy. D.), Doctor of Education ( Ed. D.), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and so on. The term grad school is often used as an abbreviation for graduate school, the terms graduate school and grad school are considered equivalent on this site. Featured online graduate school degree programs may have a quota of information requests they will accept, and if the quota becomes used-up, their link may lead to a 'multi online graduate school alternative search' website. If that should happen while you are using this site you can feel free to just exit from the 'multi online graduate school alternative search' website, or you can use that page if you wish. I try to remove links with used-up quotas as soon as I notice them, but sometimes I am delayed getting them removed. Usually, you must already have an accredited bachelor's degree to start an online graduate school degree program. Additionally, some online graduate school degree programs may have additional requirements for admission and a few prospective students may be screened out from receiving the information package if they don't satisfy a minimum requirement, such as a GPA-level. I strive to assure that the information on this site is current and accurate, however the information may change without notice to me so I can not guarantee total accuracy. A college or university may use the term external degree program where another may use the term distance program. The terms external and distance are considered equivalent on this site. Thanks for visiting this site and good luck with your graduate studies.

This page is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Bernard "Bart" Schuster except as otherwise specified.. All the images on this site are to see, but not to use. Any other images original to this site, are copyrighted by this site owner, per the copyright date. The following images are licensed from a copyrighted collection from ClickArt/Broderbund: clickartgradgroup4.jpg; clickartfemalegrad.jpg; clickartfemalegrad.jpg; & clickartmalegrad.jpg, and any other images with titles beginning with the letters, "clickart". Grad images with file names beginning with "hemera..." are copyrighted from Ideasoft and Hemera copyrighted clipart collections, 1994-2004. Images on this site are to see, not to use.

Privacy policy: This website's codes do not collect personal information on the visitor however, the website host may collect nominal "visitor log" data, and the hyperlinks on this site may go to pages which MAY or may not collect personal information. Please refer to the the website host,, and visited site's privacy policy for information on that site's policies. If you elect to request the free info from a college or university, and especially if they are interested in recruiting you as a student, they may give you a telephone call in addition to sending email or overland mail information. In requesting the info package or packet you are, in effect, giving them permission to give you a phone call. This phone call will enable you to direct to the school any questions that are of specific interest to you, and also enable you to ask questions about additional degree programs the online graduate school may offer. Recent research indicates a positive association between advancing education and increases in average salary, however no college, university or graduate school can guarantee a specific salary or increase because that is likely to depend on a number of factors including your education, but also including region, job experience, available opportunities, individual characteristics, personal history, demand, "the economy", etc. Web site visits may also be monitored thru Google, Bing, or other analytics, which may include use of cookies, and would be subject to their privacy policies.

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