Schools and Programs
Adult learners in Massachusetts can choose from various undergraduate and graduate degree studies. Many of these programs offer flexible scheduling, including evening and weekend courses, as well as the opportunity to study online. Students can earn professional certificates or associate's, bachelor's or master's degrees in many career areas, including education, business administration, criminal justice, health, and management.
Program duration can range from one semester to three years. Some studies prepare students to pursue professional certification or licensure in their chosen fields. Continuing education studies are available at some of the largest and most well-known universities in Massachusetts, two of which are highlighted below.
Schools At a Glance
|School||Location||Institution Type||Program Levels|
|University of Massachusetts, Amherst||Amherst, MA||4-year Public||Certificates, degrees|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||4-year Private||Certificates, degrees|
University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Continuing Education Programs
Through the Division of Continuing and Professional Education, adult students can complete their undergraduate degree and advance in their career by completing master's degree programs. In addition, several certificate and licensure programs are available, as well as short-term professional development programs. Several course formats create flexible options for working adults, including online courses and degree programs, evening and weekend courses and intensive summer and winter sessions.
Adult Bachelor's Degree Programs
The University Without Walls program at UM-Amherst provides working adults with a variety of strategies and options for completing their undergraduate degree; for example, adult students may earn credit for life experience and passing College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. Some concentrations for these Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree programs are health and human services, arts administration and journalism.
Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program
Through this program, adult students with a bachelor's degree can complete teacher education courses leading to licensure for middle or high school in two semesters. After passing state-required exams and completing course and field work, students begin a semester-long teaching internship.
Master of Business Administration Program
Evening, weekend and online classes provide flexible options for adults seeking an MBA. Applicants without an undergraduate degree in business can enroll in the Isenberg Part-Time MBA Foundations of Business course to gain the prerequisite knowledge for graduate business studies. A dual degree program is also available with a focus in sport management.
Master of Science Program in Labor Studies
This unique 3-year, limited-residency program prepares graduates to become union leaders. The curriculum includes courses in labor history, research methods, organizing and collective bargaining.
Certificate and Training Programs
UM-Amherst offers a wide range of short-term programs that prepare graduates for a variety of careers, such as coastal and marine sciences, population studies, public policy and administration, criminal justice and logic. Typically 15 units of courses - which are available in various formats - are required to earn a professional certificate.
Harvard University's Continuing Education Programs
Offering more than 700 continuing education classes, Harvard Extension School creates opportunities for adult students to pursue a wide range of academic and professional goals. Adult students can take courses in the evenings on the Harvard campus or online from anywhere in the world. Liberal arts and professional programs lead to associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
The undergraduate degree program provides individualization through choices of concentration (in humanities, sciences or social sciences), an optional field of study (similar to a major) and the option to take classes in professional areas such as education, business or prelaw studies. Linguistics, environmental studies and economics are among the 26 fields of study offered.
Master of Liberal Arts Program
There are 28 graduate programs available in the liberal arts, such as museum studies, clinical psychology and international relations. Adult students can complete these programs on a part-time basis through evening classes with internationally recognized faculty.
Graduate Program in Biotechnology
Students of biotechnology take courses in life sciences, research methods, ethics and policies. With 95 percent of participants enrolled part-time, the program is designed for working professionals with online and on-campus class options.
Mathematics for Teaching Graduate Program
This master's degree program allows adult students to take courses online and on campus, earn a Massachusetts teaching license and pursue an area of math in depth through writing a master's thesis. Degree candidates take classes in math theory and pedagogy and choose either the thesis or teaching-oriented capstone course tracks.
Graduate Program in Sustainability
Sustainability students learn about environmental management and develop critical analysis skills crucial to understanding the dynamics of ecosystems. Course topics in this graduate program include environmental economics, sustainable development, ocean environments, urban design and strategies for sustainability management.