You may be surprised to learn that the University of North Dakota
, internationally famous for its aerospace program, also is renowned for its chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs, which are accredited by the prestigious Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
. In fact, it's one of the few schools to offer online bachelor's degrees in these engineering programs.
All in all, UND offers more than 40 degree and graduate certificate programs online. Plus, they offer in-state tuition rates for the majority of online courses, no matter where you live.
Distance Learning at UND:
Located in Grand Forks on the beautiful Red River between North Dakota and Minnesota, UND is surrounded by wide open spaces. This is a good thing, except that rural states are seeing decreases in the high school demographic, which translates into fewer students of traditional college age, according to Jennifer Swangler, assistant director of marketing for Continuing Education at UND. The school has turned to online learning to fill the gap, and they do a good job of it. That's good news for you.
What UND's Online Courses Are Like:
Not all online courses are alike. Swangler suggests that students do their homework and choose an online course that "best fits their schedule and learning style."
UND offers several different types of distance learning:
- Independent study, where the student works one-on-one with an instructor at their own pace;
- Interactive semester courses, which are flexible but have deadlines and exams;
- Live online courses that require logging in on a schedule.
Swangler advises that some online programs require brief on-campus visits.
Most Popular Online Courses:
In addition to their unique online engineering programs, UND also is popular when it comes to other courses not typically offered in an online format by other schools:
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders Graduate Certificate
- Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
- Master of Social Work
- Family Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree
- Ph.D. in Nursing
- Dietary Managers Non-Credit Certification Course
UND also boasts "more than 300 members in (their) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, dedicated to providing personal enrichment courses that are academic in nature to individuals age 50 and over," Swangler said.
"For the great majority of online courses," Swangler said, "students receive the North Dakota in-state tuition rate regardless of their residency status. Compared to paying the non-resident tuition rate, this translates into big savings for out-of-state students."
According to Swangler, some of UND's alumni are the best and brightest in the nation, including Phil Jackson, '69, a 10-time NBA championship coach, a NASA astronaut on the space shuttle Discovery, the president of the Minnesota Twins, and a U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under the Bush Administration.
"In a 2008 national survey of online learners, UND ranked first among its national peer group for the quality of its online instruction. Online courses and programs are taught by the same faculty who teach classes and conduct cutting-edge research. More than 94 percent of UND professors hold a doctorate (or highest degree) in their field," Swangler said.
Other impressive kudos:
- Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranks UND among the “Top 10 Most Entrepreneurial Undergraduate Campuses in the Country”
- UND has the world’s largest non-military fleet of training aircraft
More good news about UND.
Swangler's Drill and Hole Analogy:
"There's a saying that "you don't go to the hardware store because you need a drill...you go to the hardware store because you need a hole," and that rings true with adult learners. Many adult learners lead such busy lives, that they do not have a lot of spare time to learn just for the sake of learning. Of course, the learning process is a large part of their professional development, but ultimately they are after the right "drill" (degree or certification) that will get them the "hole" (job or promotion) they need."
Good advice, Jennifer.
UND Success Story:
UND recently spotlighted Julie Hjelle, a non-traditional student taking correspondence courses at UND from her over-the-road semi as she drives back and forth between Alaska and the Midwest. She's studying social science. Jan Orvik wrote the story, called Here, There and Everywhere
: UND outreach helps a semi driver take classes on the road, for UND's Dimensions magazine.
Orvik writes about Hjelle, "One of her favorite experiences has been taking Spanish. She chose that course to make her more employable, and it’s already paid off when she encounters Spanish-speaking people along their truck route."
Advice for Non-Traditional Students:
Swangler has some good advice for non-traditional students.
"Do your research. If you are seeking career advancement or want to change careers, make sure you know what kind of "drill" you need to get the "hole" you want. Talk to employers in your chosen field to find out what kind of educational background they would recommend. Some professions may require you to have a bachelor's or master's degree, but you may be surprised at how many employers would recommend that you earn a professional certification instead of a degree."
For more information about UND's Continuing Education division, visit their website at www.conted.und.edu.