By Jill Gordon
Brick and mortar universities are presently experiencing a decline in traditional, new student enrollment for the first time in a generation. However, enrollment in online degree programs is increasing at an exponential rate. This is the case for new and cutting-edge online programs both at the web-based University of Phoenix, as well as for traditional brick-and-mortar universities like University of Southern California and Harvard. And though many of the online degrees offered by both types of higher learning institutions are rather traditional in terms of subject matter, there are some truly innovative programs that target the needs and demands of a changing world and subsequently the changing career marketplace. Below is a list of these, the most innovative online degree programs in the world.
USC – Master of Arts in Teaching
Due to retiring teachers and increased student primary and secondary student enrollment nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of teachers needed over the next decade is expected to grow by twelve percent. One prestigious institution, The University of Southern California, has decided to bring the classroom to students, regardless of geographic location. Partnering with private sector 2tor Inc., USC’s aim is to make its curriculum available to a wider audience. For this program, USC faculty have designed a specific curriculum for the e-teaching environment, including the integration of video documenting in-classroom practices by accredited faculty, interactive lectures using streaming video, animation and various other new media technologies. Though the cost of this degree is relatively higher than most online institutions at nearly $35,000 per year, the innovation and specificity of this degree would set you apart among a competitive field of applicants.
Harvard University Extension School – Graduate Certificate Program in Environmental Management
Harvard has recently made it possible to earn graduate level certification that is entirely by distance. Arguably the most prestigious university in the world, Harvard’s program in environmental management is only one of two currently offered by the University. This program prepares the prospective student to play a role in local, national, and global initiatives focusing on environmental sustainability. The Extension School at Harvard University has recently become a part of the school’s permanent faculties, and maintains the integrity of Harvard’s high academic standards. Though this program has made studying at Harvard more accessible, the cost of this educational endeavor still remains high. Ranging from $800-1975 per course, this certificate requires students to complete a total of 8 courses to graduate.
Columbia University – M. S. in Computer Science
Columbia University is the only Ivy League institution that offers multiple online fully-accredited degrees. Distance learners from all over the world can now obtain a Master of Science from Columbia focusing in: computer science, electrical engineering, engineering and management systems, materials science, and mechanical engineering. Offered by Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, enrolled students participate in the program via the Columbia Video Network (CVN). The CVN provides graduate distance learning courses and allows students from around the globe to pursue residency-free, top-level engineering courses via the Internet. The total program cost, at 60 credit hours is about $70,000.
The George Washington University – M.B.A. Healthcare
With the rapid expansion of the global healthcare industry over the past decade, there is a large demand for qualified, management-level professionals. The George Washington University Healthcare MBA can now be earned 100 percent online, which affords students the convenience and flexibility to complete this degree anywhere in the world, where they can access to the Internet. This degree program costs about $50,000, which is comparable to other MBA programs from high-ranking private universities in the U.S.
The University of Notre Dame – Executive Certificate program in Negotiation
Notre Dame has recently embraced the world of the online education, and the school’s lauded academic standards have not been compromised. This certificate program is administered by the school’s Mendoza College of Business. The aim of this program is to equip students in the art of negotiation, whether across conference tables or continents, and to become adept at maneuvering in the increasingly complex global business environment. There are three specializations in this program: negotiation essentials, advanced negotiation, and strategies for conflict management. The cost of each executive certificate is priced relatively low, at $2000.
The Open University (U.K.) – B. S. in Physics and Astronomy
The Open University is a British distance learning university founded to bring higher education to people who are unable to study at a conventional university. The OU is for people who want to choose when, how and where they study. Founded in 1969, The OU’s aim has always been to accommodate students with full-time careers, children, disabilities, or other commitments that would hinder enrollment in a conventional university setting. The OU has a unique style of distance learning, which the administration refers to as “supported open learning”. This refers to the process by which student reads course material, work on course activities, and write assignments on a schedule may that works for each individual. The UK government provides generous subsides for UK citizens who wish to attend the OU, and for international students the costs remain relatively high. Source
DePaul University (Chicago, IL)– B.A. in Competitive Advantage in Banking
In response to the world’s changing financial climate and growing global economies, DePaul University has begun to offer a degree program in order to address the needs of today’s individuals. DePaul University is a traditional brick and mortar institution and was established over a century ago. It is currently one of the largest private universities in the United States. DePaul founded the School of New Learning (SNL), which has specialized in non-traditional coursework over thirty years ago. SNL programs enable students to complete their studies from anywhere in the world, at the student’s own pace. The SNL also offers pre-entrance credit to its programs based on the student’s previous work and real-life experiences. The price to study at DePaul via distance learning is about $26,000 per year.
Utica College (Utica, NY) – B. S. Economic Crime investigation
The online BS in Economic Crime Investigation from Utica College is the only academic program of its kind in the nation, and was developed by the Board of Advisors of the Economic Crime Institute and the UC faculty of business. The focus of this program is financial investigations, and the curriculum includes coursework from existing degree programs such as: criminal justice, accounting and forensics. The aim of this program is to equip graduates with skills in economic crime prevention, forensic accounting and investigations, for jobs at the international, federal and state levels. This degree program costs the student about $25,000 per year.
Berkley College (NY & NJ) – B. S. in Interior Design Management
Berkeley’s online program in Interior Design was developed to train students in the design field’s requisite technical skills, creativity, and an understanding of aspects of interior design that affect the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. This program was created for students interested in careers as project managers in the fields of construction, design, planning and architecture. Founded in 1931 in New York, Berkley has seven campuses in New York and New Jersey that compliment the school’s online program, and at which students are able to use the facilities and learning resources. The price is $6,350 per quarter.
Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, CO) – B. A. in Agricultural Business
This program is designed to enhance personal and professional growth in the evolving field of agricultural business. This undergraduate degree is offered through the College of Agricultural Sciences at CSU, and focuses on business management primarily applied to the production and marketing of agricultural products. This online program provides a convenient way for students to pursue a wholly online college education, or as a compliment to on-campus studies. This program utilizes the latest online technology, including web-based lectures and online chats with other students, to enhance the learning experience for students within the program. The degree program costs about $30,000.
Jacksonville University (Jacksonville, FL) – B. S. in Nursing
Jacksonville University has partnered with Bisk Education, a private company specializing in online education, to establish one of the first online nursing degrees available to working professionals. The web-based applications used in this online program allow the student to watch streaming videos of lectures, and communicate with instructors and other students via email, chat rooms, and message boards. The school’s website allows first-time visitors to test out this new technology to better answer any and all questions prospective students may have about studying online, before enrollment The program costs about $49,000.
University of Phoenix – B. S. in Green and Sustainable Enterprise Management
Phoenix has recently begun offering the world’s first online degree program in Sustainable Business Science. Uniquely, this program emphasizes the convergence of business management ethics and environmental sustainability. This program offers notable courses such as: Survey of Green and Sustainable Business, Sustainable Enterprise Management, Business Sustainable Standards, and Sustainable Enterprise Planning. One advantage to studying at the University of Phoenix is that there is numerous satellite campuses throughout the United States available, available for use by all students enrolled at the University of Phoenix. Course hours are priced at $475 per unit with the units required to complete a degree varying upon the program and the individual’s experience.
While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. Please check with a University Enrollment Representative.
For program disclosure information, click here.
University of London (U.K.) – Bachelors of Economics
The prestigious University of London, has offered degrees by distance learning since 1858. Presently, the school offers a celebrated bachelors degree in economics that encompasses coursework in the complimentary fields of management and finance. The program provides access to online support and collaboration between students and faculty. It also provides tools to deal with both the academic and administrative demands of distance learning, and facilitates the social, peer to peer, student to instructor relationships involved in learning at an institution of higher learning. The cost of this three year degree is approximately $6,000 per year.
University of Portsmouth (U.K.) – B. of Engineering in E-Commerce and Internet Systems
E-Commerce is a major growth industry worldwide, and industry leaders presently face a shortage of human capital. This veritable skills shortage has been impetus to the University of Portsmouth developing an online degree program in E-Commerce and Internet Systems. The curriculum is designed to give the program’s graduates a head start in the E-Commerce sector, and includes coursework from a number of subject areas. Portsmouth’s online programs were designed for individuals that prefer to study in their own time and in their own way. Aimed at young and aging professionals alike, the University prides itself in the school’s offering of a newer type of training that is entirely online and available to anyone, anywhere in the world. Depending on conversion rates, studying at Portsmouth costs about $15,000 per year.
Curtin University of Technology (Perth, Australia) – Bachelors of Commerce, Banking, & Commercial Law
The Bachelor of Commerce program at Curtain University is highly relevant to the expectations and requirements of today's business world. This program puts considerable emphasis on decision-making, trends in technology and associated work patterns, all of which are crucial to the success and advancement of business and commerce in the 21st century. This program offers students the option to pursue a specialization of their choice such as, accounting, economics, or management. CUT is known for advancing distance learning and online courses throughout the continent of Australia and is one of the most innovative higher education institutes in the South Pacific. The entire degree program costs an approximate $35,000.