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Online Adult Education Program Descriptions and Options

Many colleges and universities offer adult education programs and courses online. These programs are designed to meet the specific needs of adult learners and are available at a wide variety of institutions.

Specific online adult education programs will be featured, including course details and technical requirements. Three institutions offering online programs at varying degree levels will be highlighted.

Schools Offering Adult Education Programs Online

Students looking for online adult education can find individual courses, undergraduate completion programs and graduate study available at several reputed colleges and universities across the country. Three examples are Boston University, the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin.

Boston University

Metropolitan College and Extended Education Boston University (BU) collaborates with BU Online to offer an Undergraduate Degree Completion Program (UDCP) designed for students who have completed at least half of a bachelor's degree program in the liberal arts, social or natural sciences at Boston University or another institution. Students may complete the remaining half of their degree online and earn a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies. Professional development courses and programs are also available online. Non-credit certificate programs are offered in areas such as:

  • Fundraising
  • Management accounting
  • Paralegal studies
  • Financial planning
  • Genealogical research

Most of Boston University's online adult education courses are taught completely online, while others combine online studies and on-campus attendance. Courses typically consist of online discussions, lectures and videos. Like many schools offering adult education programs online, Boston University requires students to meet deadlines for turning in papers, projects and other assignments.

University of Washington

The University of Washington (UW) offers numerous continuing education options through its UW Professional & Continuing Education and UW Online Learning divisions. Students seeking adult education programs online may pursue certificates in areas such as:

  • Business and management
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Computer programming
  • Writing
  • Law

Most of these certificate programs are offered completely online, but some combine online and on-campus classes. Those looking to take individual online courses may select from subject areas including accounting and finance, math, business, geography, biotechnology, education and English. Students can't take more than three online courses simultaneously without special permission, and some courses require students to meet on campus at least once as a group.

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin's Continuing and Innovative Education division offers online business and computer workshops that provide training in areas such as web design, programming and desktop applications. Students may also pursue a high school equivalency diploma or bachelor's degree completion program online through the university. Numerous courses may be taken online by students or individuals seeking professional or enrichment learning opportunities in subjects such as:

  • Anthropology
  • American government
  • Physics
  • Spanish

Also offered at the school are specialized continuing education courses and programs for professionals in fields such as:

  • Pharmacology
  • Engineering
  • Social work

Technical Requirements

Technical requirements for online programs can vary. The most basic requirements usually involve internet access and a personal computer with the latest operating system. Other tools typically used are:

  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Applicable software

Online adult education programs are available at the University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington and Boston University. Each school has a variety of degree levels and subjects for students to consider.

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