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The Georgia Tech Master's Degree thread got me thinking a bit more about online graduate education.  (http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1273625/)

I'd like to harness the FWF collective to learn about other, entirely online Master's Degree programs that can be completed at a reasonable cost.  I think the entire idea of online education is very interesting and I'd like a more comprehensive look at what is out there, beyond taking MOOCs that don't earn you any credit.  I poked around a bit and found a listing of some useful degrees that can be earned entirely online from Colorado State U.  While the cost is greater than the $7K from Ga. Tech, they're not astronomical ($15-$25K, depending on program).  I'm certain there are plenty of other universities with similar offerings, but this was one of the first that came up for me.

From CSU (http://www.online.colostate.edu/degrees/), the following graduate degrees can be earned entirely online:

What else is out there at a reasonable price?  I'd like to cabin this to graduate-level degrees only, because most readers have already earned an undergrad degree, and that would really open up the universe of possible responses.   

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How about if someone went to a legit undergraduate school for 4 years to obtain a bachelors, but did an online masters d... (more)

SFcapitalist (Dec. 23, 2013 @ 12:40a) |

Great information. I hope this will work out pretty well for the consultancy that I work for during academic time.

markjennifer (Dec. 24, 2013 @ 9:43a) |

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Kansas State has a good MSEE (Power Option is good) program that you can complete all the class work online. Then you just have to show up and do a presentation before graduation.

daw4888 said:   Kansas State has a good MSEE (Power Option is good) program that you can complete all the class work online. Then you just have to show up and do a presentation before graduation.
  
Very interesting, thanks. http://www.dce.k-state.edu/engineering/masters/electrical/  Looks to cost ~$21K to complete.

Most MLIS degrees are done online these days.  MLIS = Masters in Library and Information Science.

What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?

dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  
I don't understand the point of an online MBA. Isn't the whole point of MBA to allow you to meet people and network. How can you do that with an online program?

dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  

Good question.  I'm not sure if there are any big-name MBAs that can be done entirely online.  If I was going to go the high-end MBA route, I might look into some of the big schools that have Saturday only programs (Chicago, Northwestern spring to mind).  It's not online, but people fly to Chicago for the day and fly out at night.  Depending on a number of factors, it can be a good way to go (especially if you're traveling from east to west and can get in the morning of, rather than the night before).  That being said, I can imagine that a top B-School will offer a hybrid online/in-person program within a few years -- for example, you come on-campus for 3-day stints 1-3 times a year and otherwise take classes online.  The traditional take is that the in-person networking experience is invaluable, but I think you could replicate some of that with a few in-person events throughout the year. 

There have been previous threads about this sort of topic on Fatwallet. You might want to do a search to see what previous commenters have said and recommended as far as online master's level courses.

===
Here's a similar thread that I have saved in my favorites: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/ 

==
for example, from that thread, online Wharton MBA foundation courses
(I think those particular courses are free and I don't know if the credits would count anywhere or not, so maybe they are just for knowledge and not any diploma/certificate):
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/m17976418/#m17976418

I'd love to find a regionally accredited graduate program for German. I have been taking German undergrad classes at my alma mater and am considering completing an BA in German... I would love to take it beyond that.

Texas A&M has a robust distance learning program and I'm in the online statistics program right now. Very rigorous and approximately $400 a credit hour (36 credit hours required).

ltcm said:   
dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  

Good question.  I'm not sure if there are any big-name MBAs that can be done entirely online.  If I was going to go the high-end MBA route, I might look into some of the big schools that have Saturday only programs (Chicago, Northwestern spring to mind).  It's not online, but people fly to Chicago for the day and fly out at night.  Depending on a number of factors, it can be a good way to go (especially if you're traveling from east to west and can get in the morning of, rather than the night before).  That being said, I can imagine that a top B-School will offer a hybrid online/in-person program within a few years -- for example, you come on-campus for 3-day stints 1-3 times a year and otherwise take classes online.  The traditional take is that the in-person networking experience is invaluable, but I think you could replicate some of that with a few in-person events throughout the year. 

  
If you're getting an online MBA for free (i.e. covered by employer) then do it if it make sense for you. 

If you're paying your own money (or going into debt for an online MBA) then save your money.  The book knowledge gained from an MBA can be acquired anywhere (MOOCs, collection of books borrowed/bought in the fields of Finance, Management, Marketing, etc.) The value from an MBA is in the 'intangibles' (i.e. network, exposure, etc.).  You might get some of that in an online environment, but only a fraction of what an in-person curriculum would provide.  And if you want to go the MBA route for a change in career, the full-time programs' internship routes are very powerful.  

NantucketSunrise said:   There have been previous threads about this sort of topic on Fatwallet. You might want to do a search to see what previous commenters have said and recommended as far as online master's level courses.

===
Here's a similar thread that I have saved in my favorites: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/ 

==
for example, from that thread, online Wharton MBA foundation courses
(I think those particular courses are free and I don't know if the credits would count anywhere or not, so maybe they are just for knowledge and not any diploma/certificate):
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/m17976418/#m17976418

  
Definitely; but the difference between that thread and this one is that I'm looking for courses that actually lead to a reputable degree as a result.  The links in that thread are mainly for MOOCs and other courses that are useful for gathering knowledge, but not for building your credentials.  The Wharton Foundational courses are interesting, but it remains to be seen whether there would be any value in receiving the certificate that is being offered.  The credentialing process in higher education is one that is not likely to shift very quickly, if at all, but I think Georgia Tech's offering is potentially a game-changer -- a real degree, completely online, at a reasonable cost.

I'm doing the Healthcare MBA through WGU (wgu.edu) - but that's because I also did my BS in Nursing through them. Can be completed in under a year, cost then would be less than 7K. Not a name brand, but it is regionally accredited. 

avalon6 said:   
dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  
I don't understand the point of an online MBA. Isn't the whole point of MBA to allow you to meet people and network. How can you do that with an online program?


Call me old-fashioned, but I can't imagine going to college without a campus experience. I have a BA and not meeting people, working with people, making friends, hanging out at the library or dining hall, would not be the same. I might have not even have finished if I did it all as a loner. I've taken online courses, and they were worth it, but you're missing so much if you try that for 100%. That said, it's probably a bit different for graduate programs.

I don't think this discussion should be limited to graduate programs. There are some BA degrees (second BA for many of us) with better ROI such as nursing I would rather have than some on the OP list (eg. MA Tourism Management/agriculture/student affairs/business administration). Just because it's a graduate degree does not automatically make it better.

Berkeley has some online masters programs in their engineering department.

As for a campus experience, some of us are 40+ and work 9-5. Not much chance for the campus experience - and we did have online conferences, etc., for my BSN bridge degree.   I personally think quite a few schools will become online or blended online/campus in the not too distant future.   I really do like WGU and the competency based approach - it's not for everyone, but it was great for me.   Plus, the more units you can cram into a term, the cheaper it is! =) (Hey, this IS fatwallet!). I took 50 credits last term for a grand total of $3500. 



 

burgerwars said:   
avalon6 said:   
dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  
I don't understand the point of an online MBA. Isn't the whole point of MBA to allow you to meet people and network. How can you do that with an online program?


Call me old-fashioned, but I can't imagine going to college without a campus experience. I have a BA and not meeting people, working with people, making friends, hanging out at the library or dining hall, would not be the same. I might have not even have finished if I did it all as a loner. I've taken online courses, and they were worth it, but you're missing so much if you try to that for 100%. That said, it's probably a bit different for graduate programs.

  you're an extrovert, so of course the social aspect of higher learning is valuable to you.  but we introverts can't imagine college WITH the campus experience, as we find most people extremely obnoxious.

About 10 years ago, just before graduating from an adult accelerated cohort model Bachelor's in Management & Leadership degree program from Judson University, I participated in a focus group with leaders from the university who wanted to adapt and update their very successful Bachelors' degree models into Graduate level programs.  We spent the vast majority of the time discussing how much time should be spent in the classroom environment versus online, which wasn't nearly as popular or as widely available then.  The majority of the students who participated felt strongly that the cohort model (moving through most courses with a core group of the same students) had been incredibly valuable to our overall experiences, and several voiced that they sometimes felt they learned more valuable information from their cohort-mates than from the professors or presented material in a given class.  So overall, we were skeptical that an online-only program could offer the same level of interaction and communication between everyone in the class that we had enjoyed, but we allowed for the fact that there were certainly exceptions with specific subjects and perhaps whole degree programs could compensate more easily than others.

I knew that in the years since, Judson had launched both traditional and online-only MBA programs, but this thread made me curious about what other decisions they made.  So far, an MA in Org. Leadership is the only other online-only program, and they offer a Master of Leadership in Ministry that is primarily online but requires "some weekend residency".  

I think the OP may have been correct to expect "a universe of responses", because there are seemingly endless offerings now, and what is a "big name school" or "reasonable cost" for me may not be considered the same for the next person, but I think there is a lot of value in a thread like this to share what programs users are aware of. 

Western Governer's University Text is entirely online (with exception of some required field experiences for some programs), accredited, etc. Interesting pricing model. I believe it's a flat $3k per 6month term-take as many classes as you can. I think this reasonably means $9k-$12k for a Master's Degree. They have programs in education, buisness, IT, and healthcare. A coworker did it and thought it was pretty good.

mekura said:   Texas A&M has a robust distance learning program and I'm in the online statistics program right now. Very rigorous and approximately $400 a credit hour (36 credit hours required).
  
For anyone interested in the other degrees, here is the link.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE & LIFE SCIENCES

Master of Agriculture (M.Agr.) in Agricultural Development
Master of Natural Resource Development (MNRD)
Master of Agriculture (M.Agr.) in Poultry Science
Master of Wildlife Science
Ed.D. Agricultural Education (Doc@Distance)
M.Eng. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (Food Engineering/Food Technology)
M.S. in Agricultural Systems Management (Food Processing Technology)
Master of Recreation Resources Development (MRRD)
M.S. (both Thesis and Non-Thesis options) and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding
  
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

M.Ed. or M.S. in Bilingual Education
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (Generalist)
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary Education)
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (TESOL)
M.Ed. in Educational Psychology – Learning Sciences (Creativity & Innovation Focus)
M.Ed. in Educational Technology
E-M.S. in Health Education
M.S. in Human Resource Development
M.Ed. in Public School Administration
M.Ed. in School Counseling
M.Ed. or M.S. in Special Education
M.S. in Sport Management
Executive Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction
 
DWIGHT LOOK COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

M.S. in Engineering Systems Management
M.Eng. in Industrial Engineering
M.Eng. in Petroleum Engineering
Master of Industrial Distribution
M.S. in Safety Engineering
 
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE

M.S. in Mathematics
M.S. in Statistics

What is your undergraduate degree in?

I see at least two PhDs on that list. Do not get a PhD online.

For what it's worth, I just finished a MS in Engineering from UCLA (link), on Friday. It cost roughly 40k (partially subsidized by my previous company), which is probably on the expensive side. I currently have no idea if it'll be worthwhile at my current job. I somewhat assume that if I change jobs, it'll help with pay negotiation, enough to break even in the long run, but I kind of want to stay with my current company for a while.

I don't regret it, but if I could go back, I might have done something else with my time.

Generally speaking I don't think you should ever pay for a non-STEM graduate degree*, the value of most non-STEM degrees** comes from the on-campus experience to begin with. Off the list offered by the OP, for example, I think it would actually hurt your career to do the following online:

Business Administration M.B.A.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology M.A.I.O.P.
Integrated Resource Management M.Agr.
Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change M.Ed.
Student Affairs in Higher Education M.S.
Tourism Management M.T.M.

Additionally, its ALWAYS a bad idea to do a PhD online. There is already a huge negative stigma against online degrees in higher education, even more so the PhD. If the choice is between a "cheap" graduate degree in these areas or nothing, your better off doing nothing. The far better option would be doing a free masters or PhD at a low ranked state university. I'm saying this from the prospective of a PhD student myself, as well as someone who has been on hiring/admissions committees for both masters and PhD programs as the student representative.

*Exceptions: Highly ranked (top 10) MBAs or JDs, which offer little merit aid to begin with.
**I'd also argue this is true of most STEM degrees, but I don't know enough about those to make that sort of statement.

magika said:   Generally speaking I don't think you should ever pay for a non-STEM graduate degree*, the value of most non-STEM degrees** comes from the on-campus experience to begin with. Off the list offered by the OP, for example, I think it would actually hurt your career to do the following online:

Business Administration M.B.A.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology M.A.I.O.P.
Integrated Resource Management M.Agr.
Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change M.Ed.
Student Affairs in Higher Education M.S.
Tourism Management M.T.M.

Additionally, its ALWAYS a bad idea to do a PhD online. There is already a huge negative stigma against online degrees in higher education, even more so the PhD. If the choice is between a "cheap" graduate degree in these areas or nothing, your better off doing nothing. The far better option would be doing a free masters or PhD at a low ranked state university. I'm saying this from the prospective of a PhD student myself, as well as someone who has been on hiring/admissions committees for both masters and PhD programs as the student representative.

*Exceptions: Highly ranked (top 10) MBAs or JDs, which offer little merit aid to begin with.
**I'd also argue this is true of most STEM degrees, but I don't know enough about those to make that sort of statement.

  It might be valuable to do a coursework-based Master's STEM degree online, but a PhD or research-based Master's? Not likely. A big part of a research-based graduate degree in STEM fields is collaborating with your advisor, post-docs, and other graduate students. On top of that, for many research topics you need expensive equipment you're only going to get access to on campus.

JBFK, why are you giving the posts about WGU red? What is wrong with that school?

If you're interested in online teaching, are a great multi-tasker, can automate repetitive things - a degree in a high demand teaching field can turn itself over many times.

If only it weren't a FERPA violation to hire a virtual assistant to do the tedious office work for you.. but automation can be very profitable.

magika said:   Generally speaking I don't think you should ever pay for a non-STEM graduate degree*,

*Exceptions: Highly ranked (top 10) MBAs or JDs, which offer little merit aid to begin with.
**I'd also argue this is true of most STEM degrees, but I don't know enough about those to make that sort of statement.

  tell that to the clowns who paid for their grad degrees in educational admin. and who now work in public schools.  yell at a few students; fill out some worthless paperwork; attend some stupid meeting; schedule a fire drill; attend an assembly.  then collect $100k/year and excellent benefits, including a generous pension.

btw, it's "top 14" for JDs.  and it's fairly easy to get lots of merit aid at a 7-14, if you've got HYS (or even CCN) numbers (gpa/lsat)

Related topic of Free Online Courses: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/free-stuff/1247592/ 

avalon6 said:   
dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  
I don't understand the point of an online MBA. Isn't the whole point of MBA to allow you to meet people and network. How can you do that with an online program?

  
Clearly not for everyone.

What if you just want the education and the credentials. Perhaps you already work at a good, large company where you think an MBA can open up additional job opportunities within the company, or fast track you into them?

nyf0 said:   I see at least two PhDs on that list. Do not get a PhD online.
  
Why?

dk240t said:   
avalon6 said:   
dk240t said:   What's the best value for fully online MBA's out there? What's the cheapest? What's the cheapest from a place with decent name value?
  
I don't understand the point of an online MBA. Isn't the whole point of MBA to allow you to meet people and network. How can you do that with an online program?

  
Clearly not for everyone.

What if you just want the education and the credentials. Perhaps you already work at a good, large company where you think an MBA can open up additional job opportunities within the company, or fast track you into them?

  
I think that's right.  In my case, I already have a fancy JD from a top school, Biglaw experience, etc., but I'd like to move more towards the business side of things.  I don't need another fancy degree to get myself in the door, but it would be helpful to be able to demonstrate that I know the basics of accounting, finance, marketing, etc. -- and pointing to the fact that I watched some Khan Academy videos is likely not going to cut it.  I like the WGU style the more I look into it (and the price is certainly helpful), but I wish the MBA had a bit more teeth to it.  Just something to consider, but I agree -- if you already have an "in" at the company you work with, or your resume is already otherwise attractive, gaining knowledge and skills simply to fill a gap might be accomplished well online. 

bluefatwallet said:   
nyf0 said:   I see at least two PhDs on that list. Do not get a PhD online.
  
Why?

  
A big part of a PhD is the research you do and the dissertation you write. And a big part of that is collaborating with faculty and other graduate students.

JohnS Hopkins University has a couple of online programs for Engineering Professionals:

http://ep.jhu.edu/online-learning 

Not cheap, but the diploma is no different than on campus stuff.

 

The Edinburgh Business School of Herot-Watt University in Scotland has a well-regarded MBA. It's online with exams taken at your local college.

ferengi31337 said:   The Edinburgh Business School of Herot-Watt University in Scotland has a well-regarded MBA. It's online with exams taken at your local college.
  

Very interesting program, I'll have to look into that one a bit further.  It appears to be quite rigorous. 

I am getting an online MBA from the University of Tennessee-Martin. I am getting it to get the edge for advancement (getting jobs that require or recommend MBA) and to say that I have an advanced degree. It is fully paid for and I can do the work at my convenience during the class period (about a 1 1/2 months per course). Sure, the question might come up in an interview about how I got the degree, but an employer will only see on my resume that I got an MBA from an accredited state school in TN.

hairybeast said:   I am getting an online MBA from the University of Tennessee-Martin. I am getting it to get the edge for advancement (getting jobs that require or recommend MBA) and to say that I have an advanced degree. It is fully paid for and I can do the work at my convenience during the class period (about a 1 1/2 months per course). Sure, the question might come up in an interview about how I got the degree, but an employer will only see on my resume that I got an MBA from an accredited state school in TN.
  
I hate to be a debbie downer here but I really hope you are doing a degree at that school purely for promotion at your current job, since MBAs are all about the rankings. I'm glad its fully paid for - as in terms of advancement I doubt you'll find anyone will care since its ranked #212 (! I didn't even know it went that low). The only value this type of degree has is if your current employer doesn't care where your MBA is from and will promote you. Accreditation means nothing, its the absolute minimum bar and only proves the school isn't an outright diploma mill. Its like saying you went to a restaurant graded barely passing by health inspectors. It won't kill you, but thats about it.

Skipping 23 Messages...
Great information. I hope this will work out pretty well for the consultancy that I work for during academic time.



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