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4 advanced graduate programs move fully online this spring

Published on December 06, 2023

4 advanced graduate programs move fully online this spring

clock tower

Four accelerated online graduate programs designed to meet the needs of working professionals will begin at Eastern Connecticut State University in the Spring 2024 semester, with master’s degrees offered in Accounting, Management, Special Education and Applied Data Science.

Applied Data Science is a brand-new program, whereas the programs in Accounting, Special Education and Management have been previously offered as semester-long programs — the former two held online, the latter traditionally on-ground. All four programs will now be offered fully online with courses that are seven weeks long, allowing students to potentially earn a master’s degree in one year.

The courses are asynchronous, meaning that students can engage with the materials on their own schedule. Students will have opportunities for online meetings through virtual class discussions and virtual faculty office hours.

Niti Pandey
Niti Pandey, dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Graduate Division

“This makes our advanced graduate programs responsive to students’ needs,” said Niti Pandey, dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Graduate Division. The new format is intended “to meet our working adult learners where they are in terms of their continuing education and work-life needs,” she said.

Eastern’s advanced teacher certification and teacher preparation programs will continue in their present on-ground and online hybrid formats. But the advanced master’s degrees geared toward working professionals will be entirely online. The four online master’s programs are focused on subjects where Eastern has faculty expertise.

The online degree programs provide opportunities for working adults who “found it challenging to travel to campus on nights and weekends to participate in our programs in the more traditional format or log in for late evening synchronous class sessions after a full day of work,” Pandey said. “Moving our programs fully online and asynchronous has allowed us to make our programs accessible to a diverse group of potential graduate students across and outside of Connecticut,” she said.

The graduate courses will have rolling applications for courses that start at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The cost per credit hour is $714 with a per-semester fee of $60. Financial aid is available through resources such as student loans, veteran’s benefits and employer tuition assistance programs.

Online class sizes will be capped at 25 students. “Our University is student centered, so we don’t want to lose that,” Pandey said. “Classes are designed to encourage learner-to-learner and learner-to-professor interactions”, Pandey said, “with the idea of encouraging networking and learning communities.

“Our programs also encourage capstone experiences that require our students to work with agencies in their field or their employers on problems relevant to their industry,” she said.

Garrett Dancik, professor of computer science and coordinator of the Applied Data Science master’s program

The new Applied Data Science online program is designed for “individuals looking to change or accelerate their careers by learning how to solve data-centric problems,” said Garrett Dancik, professor of computer science and the data science master’s program coordinator. “The program is also a natural extension of our undergraduate data science program and would be a great fit for new graduates in data science or other fields who are interested in data science,” he said.

“Course lecture videos will be around 10 minutes each, with enough lectures each week to cover the topic”, he said. Faculty meetings with graduate students will be virtual. The program is “designed for those with busy schedules who may not have the time to attend in-person courses,” he said.

All course lectures in the online graduate program will be recorded in Eastern’s studio, and all courses will be taught by Eastern faculty. Outside experts may be brought into the courses as guest speakers.

Moh'd RuJoub, professor and Accounting program coordinator

Sukeshini Grandhi, business administration professor and coordinator of the Management master's program

The online M.S. in Accounting program is designed for professionals seeking a CPA license or those who want a more senior-level accounting position. The job category of accountants and auditors is projected to add 67,400 new jobs over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and to average 126,500 job openings each year through 2032.

The online master’s degree in Management is designed for professionals who want to improve their leadership and management skills and advance in their career. It covers management courses in leading change, strategic management and talent management, and includes the option of a healthcare concentration, which is designed for an in-depth understanding of managing healthcare organizations.

Kwangwon Lee
Kwangwon Lee, assistant professor of early childhood education and coordinator of Special Education master's program

The Special Education master’s program is for experienced certified teachers or teacher candidates and other professionals who work with special education students. Its core courses in assessment, methods and practices, among others, are supplemented with elective practicums with local agencies or in elementary or secondary special education. The program also includes a research project.

“The community practicums make the program stand out”, said Kwangwon Lee, assistant professor of early childhood education and a coordinator of the Special Education master’s program. “Research shows that collaboration between school and community partners results in better outcomes for students with disabilities and their families,” he said.

“We listened to our alumni and the needs of special education teachers in public schools in Connecticut and developed this program to meet those needs,” he said.

The spring semester 2024 master’s courses will begin in January 2024. For more information, visit the graduate division website.

Written by Cindy Weiss