How Long Does it Take to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree Online?

The phenomenon of students earning their college degrees online is becoming a more commonplace event. The convenience, and greater affordability, of a remote learning degree program has strong advantages over the more traditional academic approach. With reputable institutions now offering highly accredited programs all over the world, a new opportunity has come into play: it is now possible to earn a bachelor’s degree online from a school located outside the US. The question of how long would it take the typical student to earn a bachelor’s degree online is made slightly more confusing by the inclusion of new options. It is a small wonder, then, that many aspiring students are concerned about how much time it will take them to earn their degrees in this new and unfamiliar environment.

The Online Approach at Traditional Institutions

In broad strokes, the length of time it takes to complete a long-distance learning program domestically is less than what it frequently takes to complete a degree under the traditional academic model. American educational institutions are beginning to optimize their online offerings for students who will be pursuing their coursework with no on-campus presence whatsoever. In some cases, there isn’t even any requisite virtual classroom attendance. The work can be completed at a student’s desired pace, which allows for accelerated completion of any work for which the student displays particular interest and aptitude. The average online degree completed in America requires approximately two to three years, but it is worth re-emphasizing that this is something which is entirely up to the discretion of the student in many cases. Conceivably, finishing even more quickly is possible, as is taking a more traditional length of time.

Programs Offered by Accredited International Institutions

A new option for finding an accredited program of high reputation, as well as one that is acclimated for an entirely digital academic experience, is to look at some of the most well-regarded universities around the world. Institutions such as the University of Oxford in the UK, and ETH Zurich in Switzerland, have an exalted reputation to maintain within the world of academia. They do this by offering highly accredited courses through dedicated institutions within the umbrella of the overall college or university. As a general rule, a program offered through one of these institutions can be completed within 2-3 years. Some institutions, though, require that the associated workload (which may be more intense than what other, less reputable organizations require) be spread out over the traditional four years.

Reputation and Reliability

As a general rule of thumb, the online programs offered by well-established traditional institutions are a better bet than those which are made available by newly-formed for-profit universities. The standards of the education being provided by well-established schools with vaunted reputations must be maintained in all of their courses, regardless of whether they are presented in person or virtually. They must be able to demonstrate the same quality of learning and opportunity, including support services, that would be present in a traditional academic environment. The best course of action when looking at a program in a questionable region is to evaluate the institution which is offering it. An established university of high reputation is a much safer bet than a college with no long-term presence. This may reduce some of the flexibility and convenience, and possibly lengthen the amount of time required to complete a program, but it’s still more convenient and affordable than earning a degree through traditional academia.

The average length of time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree online is about 2-3 years, with some variation based on the setup of the program, the major, and the student’s personal preferences with regard to pacing their workload. The time it takes an American student to earn a bachelor’s degree online from a school located outside the US is often similar, but trends in the direction of the traditional 4-year approach. Established institutions with reputable online education programs are open to a broad range of students, some of whom have a variety of different needs, or who might be accustomed to pursuing academic goals at different speeds. Ultimately, it is often possible to relax one’s pace, earning your degree in a length of time comparable to that required by a traditional degree program. Alternatively, a particularly enterprising student can expect to earn a degree online in as few as 12 to 18 months.

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