Within the field of postgraduate education there has been a growing interest in providing (and undertaking) part-time courses, which are of the same academic standard and rigour as full time courses, but allow students to “earn while they learn”. Full time courses are obviously expected to remain the predominant method of post graduate education, but developments in part time courses will increase the range of options for students. I am lucky enough to have some experience of the best of these courses, as I teach a module on the Flexible Real Estate Masters course at Henley Business School, sit as an External Examiner for the MSt in Real Estate at Cambridge University, and am the Course Director for the MSc Global Finance (online) course at Cass Business School. This article is not seeking to advocate part-time over full time courses, or indeed one type of part time course over another, but rather determine what the key characteristics of these courses are, and in particular, what are the main advantages, common fallacies and expected developments for the latest development, online courses?
Firstly, a few key points about all of these part-time courses.
- There are no exams; the marks are awarded based on coursework.
- The academic standards are the same as for full time courses, as are the access to library resources etc.
- For part-time “on-site” courses (such as at Cambridge or Henley) students have a “block” period of study at the University (ranging from 3/5 days to 2 weeks) for each module.
- Typically a part-time Masters takes two years to complete compared to one year for a full time course
- Students remain in their job whilst undertaking the part time course.
Structure of online courses