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February 3, 2015

Four differences between a graduate residence program and an online degree veterans should consider

Four differences between a graduate residence program and an online degree veterans should consider

Written by: Meghavaty Suresh

Residence vs OnlineGraduate study is diverse in options, formats, and benefits. From all the queries we receive here at Syracuse University, we have noticed different groups of people opting for different programs based on multiple criteria. Veterans in particular choose between residence and online programs due to the convenience of location and life situations.

Here is a breakdown of four differences between the two formats that veterans need to keep an eye out for when considering graduate study and zeroing in on the best option.

Instruction: The first and most evident difference is of course, the format of instruction. Residence programs are all about the campus and classroom experience. Students attend classes, take part in activities within the university framework, and enjoy face to face interactions with peers, professors, and staff. Online programs give you the benefit of learning the coursework through online sessions, videos, and forums, but less direct interaction on a regular basis with other people in class or the professor. An online program offers the comfort of forgetting about geographical and time constraints.

Program Duration: Residence programs usually have a set time frame that is shorter than an online format. This is because a residence program allows for a structured daily study schedule while the online format affords an easier schedule with classes spread out. For instance, the MBA residence program at Syracuse University can be completed in 14 months in comparison to the online program that requires 24 months for completion. It is worth noting, however, that many programs at Syracuse University allow greater flexibility and time to complete if requested for student veterans.

Start Dates: When it comes to a residence program, the application deadlines and start dates for the program are usually on an annual basis and follows a set timeline. Online programs usually have rolling admissions with start dates as frequently as four times a year. Different universities follow different formats when it comes to application deadlines and start dates. Pay careful attention to deadlines when applying to graduate schools and make sure to have your materials prepared well in advance.

Benefits: While the course material is the same, the benefits of the two formats are quite different. The campus and classroom experience gained from a residence program gives students the opportunities of meeting people from different demographics and with different ideas and views. The different interactions supplement instruction and add a social support structure. This can be important for some returning and adjusting to civilian life. With an online program, classes are delivered in a live, online format that also includes class discussions and conversations in a virtual manner. This is ideal for those who have full-time jobs and seek to earn a master’s degree during their spare time. The online MBA program at Syracuse University has three short residencies spread over the duration of the online program, which gives students a chance to meet their peers and instructors.

To learn more about the Whitman School of Management’s MBA residence program with specialized admissions for veterans, click here.

To learn more about the Whitman School of Management’s online MBA program that also features specialized admission benefits for student veterans, click here


Meghavaty Suresh is a Graduate Assistant at IVMF currently pursuing a Master of Science in New Media Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She holds a Master’s in Management and Bachelor’s in Commerce from Mumbai University.

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