College Correspondence Courses with Degree Program Options

A growing number of conventional schools are making existing courses available online, developing new content for online courses and offering full degrees via distance learning. Some schools are even exclusively online. Keep reading for more information on the wide variety of correspondence programs and courses available today.

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Overview of College Correspondence Courses

While correspondence courses have existed for decades, the Internet and other communications technologies have made them a more common option for people who want to advance their education without disrupting their careers or relocating. Students today can choose from a plethora of degree programs offered through distance education and online college programs. Many traditional brick-and-mortar schools are offering an increasing number of courses and degree and certificate programs in a fully or partially online format.

Some completely online schools are for-profit institutions. However, a number of private, non-profit institutions also offer a large amount of their courses online. Programs that are not commonly found online, such as those in the arts, are going to be found at private, rather than public schools.

Evolution of Correspondence Education

Distance education programs were initially developed to provide educational opportunities for those who lived too far away from an institution to attend in person. Delivery methods for distance education might have included mail correspondence, phone and fax. Today, the Web, video conferencing and email are quickly becoming the preferred mediums for distance learning.

Online Programs - Course Delivery

As online technology develops, the Internet has become the most common means for presenting correspondence and distance education courses. Many programs are now delivered entirely online. Students receive coursework through websites such as the Blackboard course management system, in which they communicate with professors and peers, attend lectures and submit assignments. Even exams are administered online. Some programs, especially those in healthcare-related programs that have required labs and clinical experiences, have in-person requirements along with the online courses.

Degree Programs Offered Online

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degrees can typically be earned in two years and require an average of 60 hours of course credits. The programs generally require a set number of general education requirements in areas like math, science and humanities. The rest of the credits are made up of courses in the selected major and electives. Online associate's degrees are offered in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Accounting
  • Early childhood education
  • General studies
  • Hospitality management
  • Allied health
  • Graphic design

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Distance learning bachelor's degree programs typically require around 120-140 hours of course credits. Students complete general education requirements, in addition to electives and courses in their selected majors. Online bachelor's degrees are offered in a wide variety of areas. Both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees are available online, along with other degrees, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration. Areas of online study include:

  • Computer science
  • Public administration
  • English
  • Criminal justice
  • Aeronautics
  • Communication
  • Film
  • Art history
  • Electrical engineering

Master's Degree Programs

Online Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts and Master of Science degree programs are common. Most require students to have previously earned a bachelor's degree. Many online programs are designed with the working professional in mind, allowing for flexibility with the program. Programs are offered in many areas, including:

  • Business (both MBA and MS options)
  • Education
  • Technology
  • ESL
  • Nursing
  • Construction management
  • Emergency management and homeland security
  • Engineering
  • Legal studies

Doctoral Degree Programs

Even doctoral and Ph.D. degrees can be earned through distance education, though they are less common than the other levels. However, as with all online degree programs, students should carefully consider the reputation of the educational institution and check its accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education. Doctoral programs usually focus on in-depth study and research in a specific area. Common areas for online doctoral degrees include:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Psychology
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