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Online Only Universities

Online only universitiesThere are some universities that either operate substantially or entirely online and for postgraduate students considering online study, these can be a great option as they specialise in distance learning so are completely geared up to this mode of study. Online only universities operate in broadly similar ways to on-campus universities with a similar set of exams and assessments, and because they offer their postgraduate course online their tuition fees are not always based on your geographical location and in many cases can be cheaper than on-campus universities.

Where these universities are found?

There are online universities located all over the world teaching distance learning postgraduate courses to students who can be based literally anywhere on the globe. The United States is the main market for online universities with a large number of universities based there, but there are others in the UK and other countries including Australia. Currently, online only universities tend to be located in the English-speaking world, but more and more are appearing all over the world.


Postgraduate courses on offer at online only universities

In the UK the Open University is probably the most well recognised provider of distance learning degrees and they offer a wide range of postgraduate courses including some topics you may not expect, such as Teaching and Nursing along with more traditional distance learning courses such as History and Creative Writing. Kettering University Online in the United States offers postgraduate courses in Engineering and Supply Chain Management. MBA programs are a popular choice for online students – just as it is for on-campus students – and Australia-based RMIT Online has both an online MBA and an online Executive MBA. The Robert Kennedy College is an online only business school based in Switzerland that offers postgraduate courses in conjunction with the University of Cumbria in the UK, and they provide MBA courses that focus on areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. It is also possible to study shorter postgraduate courses such as Postgraduate Diplomas (PG Dips) and Postgraduate Certificates (PG Certs) at universities including the University of Essex Online and the University of Liverpool.

Advantages of online university study

Online postgraduate study is flexible and an ideal way for students to study on a part-time basis combining their work with study to reduce the financial burden of the tuition fees and to ensure that PG study can fit in with the rest of their lives.

Online education providers like the University of Essex Online see their students graduate with the same certificate as the campus-based University of Essex students, with the study mode only mentioned on their academic transcript, so if you are at all worried that this mode of study could result in a less-respected qualification than a more traditionally taught on-campus PG qualification, these concerns can be immediately quelled.

The advantage of online only universities is that they focus entirely on this way of teaching and the lecturers and support staff are all geared towards the needs of distance learning students. An online only university, or dedicated online university department, will teach the students via a bespoke online platform, like the Virtual Learning Environment at the University of Liverpool. This type of learning platform will provide the students with interactive lecturecasts, discussion forums and access to resources. Once you have been offered a place on an online PG program all you need is to have the right computing equipment to handle their software and a decent internet connection and you are good to go.

How many postgraduate students study online?

Unlike with on-campus students, most universities do not tend to publish their numbers of online students, however the University of Liverpool – an original redbrick university and member of the elite Russell Group – boasts a strong international community with over 10,000 online students from 160 countries. There is evidence that a growing number of postgraduate students are choosing to study online, In particular, students from countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Singapore are choosing to study online from home at overseas universities based in countries like the United States and the UK. There are also increasing numbers of American postgraduate students studying online at UK online universities.

Other considerations

With online universities, you need to make sure that the course you are taking is well respected in the industry you are working or planning to work in. For example, if you’re looking for an MBA program, it’s a good idea to choose one that has been accredited by the Association of MBAs – like the one on offer at the University of Essex Online. If you opt to study at a university based in the US, check that the online university you are considering is registered with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as all university-level institutions in the US should be certified by them. You should also check with former or current students for their advice on what postgraduate course is for you. Going to industry networking events is a great way to do this and that way you can be more confident about the quality of the education you will be receiving online.

Costs of PG programs at online only universities

Online universities are traditionally thought of as a more inexpensive way of attending university, however the tuition fees can now be quite similar to those of an on-campus university. Here is a selection of online MBA programs available to study at online only universities or online-specifc departments globally, together with details of their tuition fees.

Online MBA Tuition Fees


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