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Campus vs online: which mode of study is right for you?

Whichever route you take with postgraduate study, there are numerous career-boosting benefits on offer – from accelerating your professional trajectory or transitioning into something new.

There’s invaluable opportunity. So, if you’re considering a postgraduate programme, it’s time to decide which mode of study is right for you:

How is studying online different to studying on campus?

The curriculum

Content covered on campus-based programmes verses the content found in an online degree is largely the same; modules must meet set academic criteria to ensure they contribute to the qualification, regardless of format. It’s the way the curriculum is delivered that varies between modes of study.

When designing degrees for online delivery, we try to give each online module a different focus – one that’s relevant for those who work and study simultaneously,” explains Senior Learning Designer, Nick Johnston.

This helps to ensure maximum engagement, whether a student is studying thousands of miles away or enrolled on campus.

Interaction with faculty and fellow students

Attending lectures and seminars in person alongside others has clear benefits when it comes to sharing ideas and building a professional network. Being in the same room as your lecturer is a great way to get the most from this type of experience.

That said, today’s technology means that online students can ‘meet’ virtually and discuss their work and ideas via instant chat, discussion forums, and live video lectures, which also helps to bring distance learning to life.

A student once told me that at the end of a video insert he jumped up and clapped – he said he felt as if he were in the lecture theatre,” says Senior Teaching Fellow, Helen Hurford-Dawson.

Credibility and employer perception

Given the same standard of education, it’s no surprise that the certificate you’d receive at the end of your studies is the same too. As a result, both methods of learning are equally credible in the eyes of employers:

“I have spent a lot of time speaking with employers, and I don’t think any of them have asked me about the method of delivery. They’re more interested in the institution, the rankings and accreditations,” explains Postgraduate Employer Liaison, Gloria Barber.

Some online degrees have also gained official recognition for their standards of teaching, curriculum and student interaction – proving that they are as credible as their campus-based counterparts.

Recommended read: The top factors to consider when choosing an online degree

The impact on your life

Studying on campus will certainly offer you the chance to soak up a rich educational environment first-hand. You will become part of an active multicultural community and build lasting friendships with your peers. However, unless you can pause your career to relocate closer to the university of choice, you may find yourself limited in terms of where you can enroll.

Studying online can therefore offer more flexibility, but it is still a balancing act that requires you to make sacrifices. You will need self-motivation and a drive to succeed, especially if you are working full-time and juggling personal commitments alongside your study. 

“A degree is no different because it’s been undertaken by distance learning. Actually, the hurdles that you go through whilst usually holding down a busy day-job are quite profound,” says Dr Michael Shulver (Director, Online Content, Online MBA and Online MSc International Business).

Choose a mode of study to suit you

Whichever route to postgraduate study you choose, you can find all the information you need in the study section of our website.

If you’d like more information about online study, please get in touch with our admissions team today.

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