Distance learning courses available today are so varied they can definitely satisfy the learning needs and goals of anyone. U.S. colleges and universities were the first to introduce online degree programs and distance learning courses to meet the growing demand of working professionals who planned to have a job while advancing their education.
Seeing the success of the online degrees offered by American colleges, European universities followed this trend. Today, there are plenty of online study options offered by prestigious accredited universities from all over the world. And you won’t have to travel abroad to get the benefits.
Why international students choose to study online
Distance learning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are dedicated to students who want to learn complex subjects while developing skills for a specific career without having to put their jobs on hold. These can be affordable online study options for unemployed students or those who want to balance study and work but without attending class physically.
Getting an international online education can be both a great upgrade for the next step in your career, but also a starting point for changing careers if you’re no longer satisfied with your present line of work.
Of course, a student can also take such a degree programme out of personal interest.
Online Bachelor's degrees
Students can enrol for an online undergraduate programme (Bachelor’s degree) to gain advanced knowledge in a certain field, involving a critical understanding of theories and principles. Future professionals will have the ability to solve complex problems in a specialized field.
Although online Bachelor’s degrees are not as widely available as postgraduate (Master and PhD) programmes, you can still apply for a wide range of subjects, from Design, Arts, Management, Health Care, Law and Sciences.
Here are a few universities where you can study online Bachelors:
- La Trobe - Didasko
- University of Canberra
- University of Essex Online
- The Open University UK
- Swinburne Online
Online Master’s degrees
During online Master's degrees, students engage in highly specialized learning, building the practical foundation for a future career. Online students develop original thinking and/or research, as well as a critical awareness of issues in a field and at the interface between different fields.
Students will also obtain specialized problem-solving skills required in research and/or innovation in order to develop new procedures and to integrate knowledge from different fields.
Most students who choose online postgraduate degrees combine online learning with a job. This situation allows them to develop professionally and to enhance and enrich skills that could be useful in their current job or for a future career opportunity.
Here are a few universities where you can study online Masters:
- University of Bath
- University of Birmingham
- Nottingham Trent University
- University of Glasgow
- EU Business School
- BEBS - Barcelona Executive Business School
Fully online PhDs are also valid options
If you thought that online PhDs are not a real thing, then think again. After settling on a research topic and aligning with your doctoral supervisor you’re free to do the work on your own. The only downside is that you won’t have scholarship support for your online doctoral degree.
There is also a good variety of PhDs fully taught online, in which you will not have to have on-campus meetings with your supervisor, and all the communication happens online. Most online PhDs also offer fully online courses in the first year of studies, just like on-campus PhDs.
Here are a few universities where you can study online PhDs:
- American College of Education
- CQUniversity Australia
- Torrens University Australia
- Swiss School of Business and Management
Online short courses for professional development
Continuing professional development (CPD) courses are meant to maintain, develop or increase knowledge, problem-solving, technical skills or professional performance standards with the goal to function at an appropriate level in a professional field (physician, engineer, accountant, teacher, nurse, lawyer, personal assistant, etc.). Classes include 'formal' activities, e.g. courses, conferences and workshops, as well as self-directed activities.
Here are a few institutions offering online short courses:
- International Career Institute (ICI)
- UZH International Summer School
- Harvard Business School Online
Choose the right online or blended Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD
No matter what type of online college degree program you choose you shouldn’t ignore the fact that some degrees also offer the option of studying both online and on campus.
This can mean you will take regular trips to the university to attend the courses, or you will only be on campus a few times per year, for special projects or during the exams period. Often, travelling to the university campus is optional, so by taking a blended-learning degree, you don’t necessarily commit to going abroad.
To find out what type of blended degree you’ll be attending make sure you research the course information thoroughly before applying.
Blended learning Bachelors, Masters and PhDs are a great option if you think you are prone to suffer from lack of direct contact with your colleagues. It might mean additional travel expenses, but also a good influx of international experience with a bit of adventure on top.