Online Math Degree:
A New Era in Education

How to choose an online math degree:

Education has entered a new era. While traditional universities are still the choice for most college and graduate students, more students are also considering their online options for earning undergraduate and graduate math degrees.

As a result, many accredited brick and mortar colleges and universities have begun offering online degree programs, in direct competition with online universities. That means plenty of choices for students today, but with so many options now available, how do you choose the best online math degree for your needs without becoming overwhelmed?

Just as with traditional degree programs, you have to carefully weigh your options when researching the available online math degree programs, taking into consideration such factors as:

School accreditation: Attending a school that is accredited is important, especially if you plan to go for a higher degree, such as a doctorate. Accreditation simply means that a school has been deemed, by an accreditation agency, to provide a quality education. (Not all colleges and universities do apply for accreditation, according to the U.S. Department of Education.)

To determine whether the school in which you are interested is accredited, you can do a free online search run by the U.S. Department of Education.

Method of teaching: Most institutions now use Blackboard or Moodle, an online classroom, where the instructor uploads lectures, assignments, and other documents pertaining to the class. Unless there are set class times, where all the students gather in a chat room at the same time, students and instructors communicate by message board or email. Some instructors may also use video and communicate by phone.

You will likely be required to complete a tutorial of the program your school uses before classes start, and most universities offer technical support if you need help.

Instructors: The quality of your instructors will really determine the quality of your learning experience. What background do the instructors have? If biographies are not available on the school website, ask for more information on instructors, including contact information. Contact instructors to find out their teaching methods

Affordability: Higher education, whether you're going for an undergraduate or a graduate degree online or offline, is expensive. Find out if financial aid is available. Generally, students loans are accepted, but does the school also offer grants for undergraduates, scholarships, or other financial assistance for online students?

Feedback: Sometimes the best way to learn about an online math degree program is to talk to current students and graduates of the program. Ask a program representative for email addresses or phone numbers of students willing to talk to you about the program.

You may also want to do an online search for reviews of the program and the school to find out what students and former students are saying. Keep in mind, however, that each experience is individual and what might not work for someone else might work for you and vice versa.

Finally, some schools host online open houses that give you the opportunity to meet some of the faculty, to get a feel for the program, and to ask any questions you have. If you have the opportunity to attend an online open house, do it.

5 Online Math Degree Programs

Harvard University Extension School: Harvard University's Extension School offers an online option for earning a Masters Degree in Mathematics for Teaching. Students can finish the majority of the degree online but will be required to complete brief residency requirements, which can be done in three weeks during the summer.

University of Illinois at Springfield offers an online Bachelor's in Mathematical Sciences (MAT). Students admitted to the program must already have a minimum of 30 credits from an accredited undergraduate institution, have a 2.0 GPA, and have passed English Composition with a C or higher.

Ottawa University, with its brick and mortar campus in Kansas, offers an online Bachelor's in Mathematics. Those students with previous undergraduate credits may be able to transfer some classes to the program at Ottawa University. Students are required to complete math courses in addition to a liberal arts curriculum.

The University of Phoenix, which offers both online and campus courses throughout the country, offers several graduate degree programs in math, such as the Master of Arts in Teacher Education Middle Level Mathematics. Among the benefits University of Phoenix students enjoy are access to The Center for Mathematics Excellence and a technical support team that helps with any problems or questions students may have.

Walden University, one of the oldest online universities, offers several online math graduate degree programs, including the Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Mathematics for kindergarten through fifth grade or Mathematics for grades six to eight. With an estimated program completion date of two years, students are required to complete 30 credits of online course study.

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