An Ivy League education has immeasurable value. Students that invest the time and effort for such a highly coveted degree don't need a brick-and-mortar setting.

“Our online programs are taught to the same learning outcomes and by the same faculty as our on-campus, traditional programs,” explains Brian Dashew, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Columbia University. “We place a high value in making sure that students in our online degree programs are receiving the rigorous, cutting-edge and practical knowledge and skills that people have come to expect from Columbia University and the School of Professional Studies.”

A wide range of options

According to Phoebe Ballard, the university's executive director for online learning operations, “Students appreciate the flexibility, personalized feedback and high-level of interactivity that our online degree programs provide. The geographical convenience of the online classroom enables students to learn from a diverse cohort of experienced professionals and industry leaders."

“Students appreciate the flexibility, personalized feedback and high-level of interactivity that our online degree programs provide.”

Degrees range from strategic communication, bioethics, applied analytics and nonprofit management. Online and hybrid offerings also include master’s degrees in fields such as enterprise risk management and human capital management. There are also part-time or full-time master’s programs.

Developing the right online instructors

Dashew says the stigma attached to online learning is waning.

“Institutions that know how to offer online programs well are having tremendous success, increasing the opportunity for highly-qualified students across the globe to achieve a world-class education. Over the last decade, we've assembled a team of instructional designers, media specialists, educational technologists and support specialists who help make sure we can offer an industry-leading online learning experience.”

“As more institutions learn to build these programs and develop the type of infrastructure our school has created, it's likely more and more top schools will increase the number of online offerings that increase student flexibility.”

The admission process still exists

Candidates typically need to complete an online application form, submit a fee and provide official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. A resume, letters of recommendation and statement of academic purpose is also required. Some programs require GRE or GMAT scores and an essay, along with an interview.

“Generally, candidates need to be personally motivated and self-directed. The most successful online students are comfortable collaborating in a variety of formats, and have excellent time-management skills.”