Individuals who want to earn a master's degree in a distance learning format may earn a degree in many subjects, including, information technology, accounting, business administration or criminal justice. Courses available and technology requirements are also important considerations.
Distance Learning Master's Degree Programs
Distance learning master's degree programs are offered in several fields. While some can be completed entirely online, others are available in hybrid formats that include hands-on practicums, clinical experiences or internships.
This distance learning master's degree program trains students to create, analyze and manage information systems for businesses and other organizations. Online distance learning courses are typically asynchronous, meaning that students can study whenever they want without attending scheduled classes. Students may access course assignments, readings and exams entirely online.
Courses in distance learning master's degree programs in information technology typically focus on the latest technologies. Here are some typical course topics:
- Information systems design
- Database management
- Networking fundamentals
- Technology and business integration
- Data management
- Project management
A distance learning accounting master's degree program is designed for busy professionals who hold a bachelor's degree with a major or minor in accounting. Students who hold bachelor's degrees in other areas typically are required to take additional online courses before beginning work on the core accounting curriculum. Some programs may require a select number of on-campus courses to be completed.
In this program, students learn Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). Classes prepare students to take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Course credits typically count as part of the 150 hours of accounting education that many states require individuals to complete before they can become CPAs.
A distance learning master's degree program in accounting focuses on the core competencies established by the AICPA. Common courses include:
- Tax planning
- Forensic accounting
- Accounting ethics
- Financial reporting
- Business law
- Financial risk management
Working professionals who hold a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, accounting or finance may advance their careers by completing a distance learning Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Like traditional MBA programs, remote programs often require students to concentrate on a specific area, such as finance or marketing.
Distance learning MBA programs usually include some on-campus classes or weekend residencies for students to discuss case studies and independent projects. Field assignments with businesses and other employers may be required.
Students in distance learning MBA programs take courses that combine theory and practice in several areas of business. Classes offered include the following:
- Organizational behavior
- Case studies
- Operations management
- Management information systems
- Business strategy
- Business operations
Students who are interested in pursuing advanced studies in criminal justice may enroll in a master's degree program in the field. These programs prepare students for many professions related to law enforcement, security and governmental policy. Possible concentration areas include public safety administration and counterterrorism/homeland security.
Some of the courses that may be offered within master's degree programs in criminal justice cover topics such as:
- Courts and the judicial process
- Ethical leadership
- Intelligence collection and analysis
- Community building
- Global terrorism
- Housing policy
- Emergency management
- Forensic psychology
In order to be able to complete a master's degree in a distance learning format, students must have computer hardware and software that meets certain technical requirements. In particular, schools may stipulate that students have access to computers with the following features:
- An up-to-date Windows or Mac operating system
- Internet access
- A certain amount of memory
- Office programs
- CD/DVD drive
- Discipline-specific software (depending on the program)
There are many master's degree options for online students, each of which includes a variety of relevant courses. When enrolled in an online class, students need to have specific computer technology to support their studies.