Possible Additional Requirements
Some programs may require you to complete additional requiremente beyond your regular online coures. It's important to understand the general concept of each of these types of ideas but even more important that you discuss the specific requirements with your institutional counselor, mentor or faculty member.
Field Experiences: Certain programs, such as in healthcare, psychology, education, business, and information technology, require you to earn credit through special learning and/or field experiences and projects, referred to as “colloquia,” “practicums,” “clinicals,” or “internships,” that are conducted outside of the typical online course structure and require your physical presence.
Student Teaching Experiences: If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in teacher education, you will have to participate in a live, credit-bearing student teaching experience and/or practicum in order to graduate, as well as to earn a license or certification to teach in your state.
Capstones: Some bachelor’s and master’s programs culminate in a “capstone” course or courses that are taken near the completion of your program of study. Capstones are based on the skills and knowledge you should have gained as you moved through the curriculum. A capstone may be based on a pre-approved project conducted at your place of work or at another business related to your course of study and career. Capstones are completed under the guidance of a field-based mentor and your course instructor. Depending on the program, a capstone may require that you submit a thorough research report as well as present an oral defense. The purpose of any capstone is to ensure that you have gained the requisite skills and knowledge for career advancement in your field.
Team-based Residencies: Some online MBA programs have residency requirements that include putting students into teams to conduct an in-depth study of a specific business or on a business-related issue (such as globalization). This type of learning experience could entail interviewing key executives and seeing first-hand, or through electronic simulations, how a business operates. The team might put together a paper based on its interviews and observations, combined with research in the field and an analysis of marketing strategies, operational plans, organizational strategies, and more. The team presents its findings at a later date, either online or in-person, to all of the students and faculty who participated in the residency.
Certifications and Credentials: Many programs may include a partial emphasis on preparing students to obtain specific certifications or credentials that are widely known and respected within their field of study. For example, an online master’s degree in information technology management could prepare you for a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. Or an online master’s degree in nursing management could prepare you for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Nurse Executive Certificate. Check with your counselor about any certifications or credentials you may be interested in earning as part of your course of study.
Case Study Method: Particularly in business, management, and leadership-related courses, you may be required to participate in a case study learning experience. A case study is based on a nonfictional story outlining how a business or industry dealt with a specific challenge(s) or how it rose to prominence or fell to failure. In a typical case study exercise, you will review the nonfictional story, which could include some additional electronic simulations of a business practice, and be asked a series of questions by your instructor inside the course discussion board. You’ll be asked what you would do in a similar situation and be given a variety of decisions to choose from and defend. Based on your response, you may be put into a team of like-minded students who must then defend their position through presentations and interactions with fellow students. The idea is to put you in a true-to-life experience that ultimately will enhance your skills and ability to lead.