Originally created as an extension of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama in Huntsville grew up quickly, becoming its own autonomous university by 1969. No longer the underachieving little sibling, this research-intensive university strives to “enrich our global community” with a commitment to “rigorous scholarship, innovative education, technological research, cultural growth, and entrepreneurial creativity”.
Today’s UAH student body tops out around 7400 degree seekers (about 1500 of which are graduate students) looking to choose from a field of 30 Bachelor programs, 18 Masters’ options, 13 PhDs (as well as professional and graduate certifications). The five colleges occupy a 350 acre campus that is known for its fine programs in engineering and science, though there are also numerous offering in nursing education (as it is with most of the Alabama schools, health care is a big part). Of the 300+ faculty, 92% are terminally degreed and teach in small, 16:1 student/faculty ratio classes.
UA Huntsville is proud of its ever-growing distance learning programs, making it their mission to “offer high quality…programs… via state of the art technology”. Utilizing tools like Mediasite (UAH’s class capture technology), Wimba (allowing synchronous chats and presentation tools), and videoconferencing (3 on campus locations allowing broadcasts between UAH and its sister schools UA and UA Birmingham), as well as their own course management system (Angel), UAH offers numerous methods for ensuring that online learning meets the same standards as the traditional equivalents.
Online degree offerings trend towards graduate areas, with only and RN to BSN undergrad program available. For graduate degree seekers, though, there are almost a dozen options, mostly in engineering and nursing related fields, including 4 doctoral programs (Nursing Practice, Engineering Management, Industrial Engineering, and Systems Engineering). Master’s programs include all the PhD programs, but also include unique online degrees such as an MSE in Missile Systems and universally useful ones like the MSE in Software Engineering. All programs allow for students to attend traditional classes at any time (as long as they’re on campus when the class is going on), so those needing assistance have options outside of the typical email and online advisement.
Courses delivered online are varied and expanding, crossing disciplines and running the gamut from accounting to business, psychology to economics. All courses are delivered in an asynchronous format, with students working towards deadlines on their own, flexible learning schedule. Partnered with Boeing, they offer the company access to distance learning for professional and continuing studies, with certificate and degree programs designed specifically for airline employees on a flexible, online learning schedule or with short courses on weekends/evenings (or hybrids as is needed).
In addition, continuing education offerings for distance learners include additional online certifications for professionals (cost accounting, project management) looking to earn more. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers about 50 daytime courses that require a $50/term fee for unlimited learning opportunities, with no tests or mandatory attendance and many featuring online aspects. Designed for students of any age, intellectual curiosity is the only pre-requisite.
Focused on research and academics, UA Huntsville stands alongside its two other UA brethren as a strong place to learn the skills needed to aid both Alabama and the world in advancement and innovation.