Self Paced Master’s Degree Program

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What Is a Self Paced Master’s Degree Program?

A self paced master’s degree may be designed for adult learners who may not be able to dedicate themselves to a regular course load or structure while pursuing their degree, preferring instead to engage in flexible learning where they work at any time. As more universities may recognize how difficult it is for some students to fit the pursuit of a master’s degree into the real world of their professional and personal responsibilities, self paced programs are being offered at more institutions and they’re offering more master’s degrees, including self paced masters degree online programs. Continue reading to learn more about self paced programs online and on campus and learn about 15 universities offering self-paced master’s degrees.

Self Paced Programs & Other Online Programs: What’s the Difference?

Choosing the perfect type of online degree programs for you may take a bit of comparison. Distance learning may be a great option for some who need flexibility. There may be several options in self paced programs to consider.

Synchronous LearningThis type of learning refers to learning conducted at the same time. The learner and instructor meet at the same time. This type of learning includes live online meetings. It may include some in-person classes. The whole class or smaller groups typically come together to learn at the same time. In this type of learning, the students work through the educational process at the same time. They are typically led by an instructor.
Asynchronous LearningThis type of learning is student centered. That means students complete coursework at their own pace. Students may learn at different times. They may study when and how they would like to. Most type of online learning happens in this manner. The instructor typically sets up the learning path. Then, the study engages with it at their own pace.
Self Paced or Self GuidedThis term refers to work completed without as much structure. Students do not have deadlines. They have a time limit to complete classes. They may study when and how they want to though. These programs give students a set number of weeks or months to complete the work. Students may then choose when and how to learn.

What are some of the benefits of self-paced degree programs and courses?

After completing a bachelor’s degree, many students may want or need more education. They may want to work or start their career, though. Self-paced education could make that a bit more possible. A student may enroll in these programs and meet ongoing educational goals while engaging in life as well. Some of the other benefits of a self paced program may include:

  • The ability to design your program
  • Take as many or as few courses as you’d like
  • No stress over deadlines
  • Widely accepted by employers
  • Perform coursework at your convenience
  • May give you a technological edge over brick and mortar graduates
  • May offer more interaction between instructor and students

For some, online college may be the right option. It could create an opportunity to get education in a way that works for your needs.

  • Earn your degree from a university with a “Whole Human Education” approach that focuses on assisting you in all aspects of your education: academic, emotional, career, financial, and family.
  • Choose from 75+ programs: Whether you’re starting fresh or seeking advancement, our career-focused programs are designed to help you make an impact in your chosen field.
  • National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Self Paced Masters Degree?

This type of online education may be quite flexible. The length to complete the program often depends on how quickly a student works through the material. As a master’s degree, some schools may allow transfer credits. That could speed up the process. Other programs may be very flexible. Students may wish to complete the program over several years.

A typical master’s degree often takes about two years to complete. A self paced option may be longer. Students may wish to extend their education longer. That may fit their needs better. Going full time or part time could also play a role in this. With ample flexibility, students may complete the online master’s programs at a rate that works for their needs.

How Self Paced Learning has Changed Over the Years

While self paced learning has been around in some form since the 1700s when private correspondence courses were advertised, it didn’t really take off until the internet became readily available. Since then, wi-fi, especially in public places and coffee shops, and mobile devices have made self paced learning, especially in graduate school, even more accessible.

And, as we now are connected wherever we are, it is often easier to meet deadlines, perform research, and communicate with peers and professors. Plus, with more professional and personal responsibilities, self-paced master’s programs could allow you the option to take as many or as few online courses or offline courses as you feel comfortable. Some even may allow you to complete a course in two weeks. While many self-paced programs are offered online or in a hybrid format, understand your own learning style to decide whether a campus or distance program is better for you.

Did You Know? The Society to Encourage Studies at Home, created in 1873, was the first correspondence school in the United States.

Tips for Self Paced Master’s Degree Program Success

Educational opportunities like this may be a great choice for some students. However, there is a lot of work that goes into these programs. It is often important to know if this type of education fits your needs. It is also important to consider your study habits and expectations. These tips may offer some help.

Invest in the Perfect Program

A great starting point is choosing the perfect type of online degree program. Many schools may now offer these programs. Not all are the same. Some may have more flexibility than others. A student also needs to think about what they plan to learn. Choose a program that is worth the time and monetary investment.

Ensure Ample Time Management

Study time is often an important part of these programs. Students may need to be capable of managing their own time. That may mean scheduling time each day or week to work on the course assignments. They may need to meet specific timelines for completing assignments. Without a class time to visit each day, it could be easy to push off required assignments until the last minute. Many students may benefit from more organized and paced out education.

Plan a Space to Study

It may also be important to have a specific place to study. Having the same place to go to study may help some students stay organized. Class material, like videos, textbooks, and note-taking material in that space may help to make it feel more like a classroom. It may also help to reduce at least some of the distractions students have.

Find Out What Resources Are Available

A self paced program is not one where the teacher leaves the student to manage their education alone. Many instructors may still provide time for meeting with them. They may also have meet ups locally. Other resources to the student may also be available. This includes on campus library access or student support services. Find out what type of services are available to help encourage learning.

Reach Out for Help

A self paced program may seem like a solitary learning experience. Yet, many schools may provide a range of resources for students to use if they need help. For students unsure about material or confused on topics, reaching out to the instructor, other students, or a tutor may be helpful. It is a great idea to learn about the school’s resources before choosing a program.

Plan to Succeed

Know the start dates for each program. Plan out a schedule to help meet specific goals throughout the learning process. Stick with a plan like this to help minimize the risk of running out of time.

Universities With Self-Paced Master’s Degree Programs Online & On-Campus

While many universities offer online master’s degrees or at least some type of hybrid learning for your degree, the 15 schools listed below offer a variety of self-paced learning options that allow you to take courses at your convenience – including self paced masters degree online options.

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#1: Southern New Hampshire University

With more than 3,000 campus students and more than 80,000 online students, plus an alumni network of more than 84,000, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. SNHU offers a variety of master’s degrees that may be earned in as little as 15 months with two courses per ten-week term. Or, you may take one course per term and earn your degree on your schedule. Some of the more than 100 master’s degrees available at SNHU are:

#2: Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global serves 30,000 students and is an adult-serving public university that focuses on convenient online degrees in career-oriented fields of study. Purdue University Global offers online master’s degrees that may be earned in about two years or longer, depending on the flexible scheduling you choose.. Or, you may take one course per term and earn your degree on your schedule. Some of the dozens of master’s degrees available at Purdue University Global include:

  • M.S. Accounting
  • M.S. Homeland Security
  • Masters in Health Education
  • Master of Public Administration
  • M.S. Psychology

#3: Walden University

For the past 45 years, Walden University has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners. Today, Walden serves students from all 50 states and more than 150 countries from around the world through programs that reflect current market trends and promote positive social change. Tempo Learning, Walden’s self-paced learning format, is an innovative and custom way to complete your degree. These programs allow you to use real-world experience to potentially speed your progress through a curriculum that may be applied to your job immediately. Some of the Tempo Learning programs are:

  • (M.P.H.) Master of Public Health – General
  • M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology – Online Learning
  • (M.B.A) Master of Business Administration – Self Designed

Other online programs:

  • M.S. in Criminal Justice – Self-Designed
  • M.S. in Human Resource Management – General Program

#4: Northeastern University

At Northeastern University, students receive more than an education. They gain relevant, real-world skills and experience through the school’s signature experiential learning model that combines academic scholarship and professional practice. With some master’s degrees that may be completed in as little as 16 months. Northeastern offers a variety of programs that you may pursue at a pace that works perfect for you, such as:

#5: Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers over 200 academic programs across nine colleges and various online learning platforms. GCU is Arizona’s premier private Christian university earning regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and its predecessor since 1968. GCU expects to grow to 25,000 students within the next five years and have invested approximately $1 billion in campus and academic infrastructure. Some of GCU’s programs are:

  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Healthcare Administration and Information Management
  • MBA (Accounting, Cybersecurity, Marketing, HR & more)

#6: Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University was founded in 1920 and is committed to liberal arts and professional education as a Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. Ranked as “one of the best Master’s universities in the Midwest”, Indiana Wesleyan University has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students and one of the largest private colleges in Indiana. IWU offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees, 38 graduate degrees, and 5 doctorate degrees. Some of these programs are:

  • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
  • Graduate Teaching Certificate – Biology
  • M.S. Nursing – Associate to Master’s – Nursing Administration
  • Master of Business Administration

#7: Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies

The Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies offers a supportive, collaborative environment that allow students to balance their personal and professional lives with the pursuit of learning. Adult learners have been a core part of Northwestern’s mission for more than 80 years. As a result, the school offers a variety of programs that combine online technology with the interactivity of the classroom, all around your busy schedule. Some of these programs are:

#8: Liberty University

Offering more than 550 programs of study, and with an alumni network of more than 250,000, Liberty University provides an education with a solid Christian foundation and is committed to academic excellence. Many of the master’s degrees at Liberty may be earned in 12 months. Or, you may pursue these programs at your own pace through flexible programs designed to allow you to work while pursuing your degree. Some of these programs are:

#9: University of North Carolina

As the nation’s first state university to open its doors, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves as an educational and economic beacon for the people of North Carolina and beyond. In addition, the faculty at UNC is dedicated to innovation, excellence in their teaching, and have made discoveries that touch every aspect of society. UNC also offers a growing selection of online graduate programs designed for students to complete at their own pace. Some of these degrees are:

#10: University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix provides students with the ability to work and study at their own pace. This is done through the use of online coursework that is flexible and may be completed at the pace of the student. Students are not required to take a minimum number of courses per semester and may take them as needed. This allows for the ability to work and continue on with their lives while also pursuing a masters degree. Here are some of the flexible majors they offer:

#11: University of Arizona Global Campus

The University of Arizona Global Campus is the online extension of the University of Arizona. This program provides students with the ability to study and learn at their own pace as they pursue a masters degree. They have a number of online and flexible masters programs to choose from. Here are some examples:

  • Master in Business Administration
  • Master in Psychology
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Information Systems management
  • Master of Arts in Special Education

#12: Strayer University

Strayer University is an online school that offers a number of flexible masters degree programs. These programs are designed to work with the busy lifestyle of todays student. These programs may allow students to work at their pace and to choose the classes they need when it is convenient for them. Here are some of the programs they offer a flexible masters in:

  • Masters in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Human Resource Management
  • M.S. in Information Systems
  • Master of Health Services Administration

#13: Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College offers a number of masters degree programs that are meant to help professionals to succeed while they enhance their careers. The programs offer the ability to learn online and have the flexibility one needs on order to succeed and earn their degree while still working. Here are some examples of the programs offered:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Public Health
  • M.S. in Nursing Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Human Resource Management

#14: Capella University

Capella University offers a number of online and flexible masters programs. These programs are designed to help students to earn the degree they want at a pace that they are able to complete it. They provide flexible scheduling and class options to meet the needs of the busy and working student. Here are some examples of the programs they offer:

  • MS in Human Resource Management
  • MS in Information Technology
  • Masters in Psychology
  • MS in Education
  • MPA in Public Administration
  • MHA Master in Health Administration

#15: Western Governors University

Western Governors University offers a number of programs for students to earn a masters degree. These programs offer the flexibility and options that one needs in order to pursue the degree at their own pace. They have a number of degree programs from which to choose including the following:

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In the table below are a few ideas from partner universities to get you started.

List of Online Self-Paced Master’s Degree Programs

Sample Self-Paced Degrees Awarded
1. Southern New Hampshire UniversityMS Data Analytics, MS Public Health, MS Operations Management
2. Purdue University GlobalMA Liberal Studies, MSN, MS Homeland Security
3. Thomas Edison State UniversityMA Liberal Studies, MSN, MS Homeland Security
4. Wilmington UniversityMBA Health Care Admin Concentration, MS Applied Technology
5. Northwestern University School of Continuing StudiesMS Global Health, MA Public Policy, MS Information Sciences
6. Liberty UniversityMBA, MA Family Therapy, MA Strategic Communication
7. University of North CarolinaMSW, MBA, MPA, MS Public Policy
8. Walden UniversityMPH, MBA, MS Instructional Design
9. Northeastern UniversityMS Criminal Justice, MS Applied Nutrition

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