UMassOnline proudly claims membership of the UMass System (The University of Massachusetts). UMassOnline was officially created in 2001 as an extension program of UMass. As a part of the UMass system, which includes five campuses in addition to the online program, online students gain access to the university's deep resources, which include a massive alumni network, full accreditation and the school's faculty. The history of UMass dates back to 1863, when it was founded in Amherst, Mass., originally called the Massachusetts Agricultural College. U.S. News ranks the university's Amherst campus among the top 100 universities nationally.
Anyone with a high school degree may enroll in courses, however students must be accepted into a degree program before they may progress towards graduation. Graduate programs require a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite. Admission rates differ based upon the degree program, however, the admission rate for UMass's Amherst campus (the largest campus) was 62.5% for 2014.
As part of the UMass system, UMassOnline benefits from the same accreditation held by its campus counterparts. In addition to general accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, each of the University's schools and colleges are accredited by discipline-specific agencies. Students enrolled through the online program receive the very same degrees and benefit from the same reputation as students on campus. The same faculty also teaches online courses as the physical campuses. Students can expect a high level education.
The price of tuition and fees vary depending on the level of education and program students are enrolled in. The price of undergraduate and noncredit courses generally range from $125 to $1980 each, while graduate level courses range from $1,230 to $2250 each. This is very affordable compared to other online universities, especially considering their national reputation.
Despite their affiliation with the UMass, there is no residency requirement and programs may be completed from anywhere in the world. For those who have taken an untraditional path and are returning to school, credit for life experience may be awarded up to 30 credits worth.
Of graduates from the undergraduate programs at UMass's Dartmouth campus in 2012-2013, 71.1% report they found full-time employment within six months of graduation.
At first glance, UMassOnline's website can be intimidating. With so much information on the same page, information on specific courses and programs can be difficult to navigate to. Course demos are also not currently functional, which would be extremely helpful considering college attendance is an extremely personal experience.