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An increasing number of schools and universities are offering online alternatives to their master’s degree programs. Whether it’s for select classes or for an entire master’s degree program, students have better options than ever before.

Advanced online degrees are no longer for specialty schools or for-profit institutions either. Premier universities such as University of Southern California, Georgetown University and University of North Carolina have all recognized the value of bringing master’s degree programs online.

Though there are more benefits to getting a master’s degree online than ever before, here is our list of the top five:

5. Unprecedented Technology

Many online degree programs incorporate the most modern and advanced technology available on the Internet. Completing a master’s degree online will help you gain a familiarity with this technology and give you a competency that will provide a leg up on traditional brick and mortar students.

University of Southern California’s Masters in Teaching program is a great example. With a state-of-the-art online interface, the student is required to meet with classmates remotely, upload video clips and assignments, and attend class sessions via webcam. In an increasingly technological world, having this level of proficiency is essential, regardless of which field you choose to enter.

4. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Getting an online master’s degree allows for a level of flexibility not afforded to students living on or commuting to a university campus. The amount of time you will save by avoiding commuting or relocation will be incredibly valuable to you as you complete your master’s program.

One of the best parts about this is the fact that you will be able to maintain the job you already have while you complete your degree. By enrolling part time in an online master’s degree program without ever having to leave your hometown, you can continue to work and earn money to support the life you have made for yourself. Many master’s degree students have already been active members of the work force for several years and few can afford to uproot and cut off their income to continue their education. Online programs allow you to have the best of both worlds.

3. Already on Location

Nobody likes a long commute. Getting up for class or work is hard enough without the draining trek to and from the classroom or office. What’s more is that many of the most prestigious master’s degree programs may not be anywhere near where you live. Can you really afford to uproot and move all the way across the country for your degree?

Getting a degree from your dream university no longer necessitates a cross-country relocation or even a cross-town commute. A student from Texas can now get a Masters in Nursing from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. without having to leave their living room. Online master’s degrees make all of this possible.

2. Increases Interaction

Online degree programs often face the stigma of sacrificing the interaction you get in a face-to-face classroom environment. With recent technological developments, however, this is no longer the case. In fact, the truth is that certain online master’s degree programs actually increase the face time you get with both professors and fellow students.

The University of Southern California’s online Master of Social Work program puts students live in a virtual classroom. Each student is present and visible via a webcam, and the teacher is on screen presenting the same material that they would be presenting in a physical classroom. Students are encouraged to share, discuss and ask questions together. Professors even have specified office hours online. Because you are actively participating in this virtual classroom, you actually get a lot more face time with students and professors than previously possible!

1. Quality

The number one benefit to getting your master’s degree online is the indisputable quality that is now available through these programs. Though often thought to be a low-quality tool for for-profit institutions, online master’s degree programs are rapidly becoming the most convenient way to receive a top-notch degree from an elite university without lowering your standards.

Private institutions such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are bringing their tier one programs online. UNC has begun offering their Masters of Business Administration online, ranked number 19 in the country by US News & World Report. Using the most advanced technology, UNC is able to offer more students than ever before the opportunity to learn from and network with its world-class faculty and alumni network. Their online MBA students will enjoy the same curriculum as on-campus students, but will be able to earn their degree through advanced virtual classroom technology from anywhere in the country.

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