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Monday, December 11, 2023

Graduate School Guide

Pros and cons of an online master’s degree


| Photo illustration by Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Online courses have their pros and cons. Some shudder at the thought of taking an online class and cannot begin to imagine obtaining a Master’s fully online. Although everyone has a different style of learning, it is important to acknowledge both sides and weigh the difference.

The pros

Online classes can be cheaper than traditional classroom or auditorium courses.

Cheaper in an aggregate sense rather than just tuition cost. For traditional classroom courses, you have to pay the usual fees and books, but you also have to account the commute from home. You have to pay for parking, you have to find parking and you have to keep up with the vehicle to park. Whether it is dealing with traffic or rising gas prices, time and money are spent. Even for those who live on campus, online graduate classes saves them the hassle of showering, putting pants on and walking across campus to go to a class that can be self-taught or done online.

The availability and convenience of an online graduate degree can work in their favor. Nowadays, students carry some sort of technological device on them. An online master’s option allows students to not only complete their classwork in any location, but also to do their classwork without impeding their work schedule. This option also applies to those who are raising families or are getting back into the job market.

The option of an online Master’s program provides students with yet another option to further their education.

The cons

Responsibilities daunt on people like one’s conscience.

Keeping up with an online course is usually a deterring factor that causes most students to shy away from enrolling. Having too much freedom and flexibility can stem laziness, feed lack of motivation and nurture procrastination.  

With that said, a common misconception is that online courses are easier than face-to-face courses. Online courses, especially with master’s courses, require self-discipline.

Preference of traditional classroom courses often times trump online courses.

Having a professor lecturing or nonchalantly reminding of upcoming assignments keeps some students comfortable and constantly on their toes.

Clinical assistant professor Ginger Lucas, the UH online master’s social work program director, believes a transition to an online master’s programs are an excellent option for students.

The master’s program in social work is one of many degrees that require students to do field work alongside online assignments. It eases the burden of having to go to class and participate in field, all while working at a job or raising a family.  


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