“It was a bold move in 1885 to start a university in the middle of the desert”, but that’s exactly what the University of Arizona did. The very first institution of higher learning to be erected in Arizona (Tucson to be precise), it’s spent over 100 years instructing and researching, growing into a highly selective and renowned land/space grant institution that offers a dizzying amount of degrees for both grads and undergrads.
The 387 acre campus is home to almost 30,000 students now, seeking degrees ranging from Bachelor to PhD, with non-credit course, post-grad and professional certifications, and a thriving research community looking “to improve the human condition”. UA houses 20 colleges and 11 schools on three different campuses (including UA South, operating out of several locations/community colleges), including a School of Medicine (the only MD granting school in Arizona). Total there are 300 undergrad/graduate degree offerings, ranging from education to nursing to business.
Distance learners are welcome at UA, with completely online degree programs at the graduate level (meaning there are no online Bachelor programs here) including a Philosophy PhD in Nursing, as well as correspondence and weekend/evening college (which offers exclusively Bachelor programs). For undergrads seeking distance learning, there are a number of courses offered each semester, both web based and videos courses (put out through either DVD or streaming online), but all Bachelor programs require traditional, on campus portions to be completed. Online courses are available at UA, as well as Arizona State and Northern Arizona U., allowing students to find many of the classes they need through distance learning methods. Some Bachelor programs, like the Meteorology tract offered through UA South, allows most coursework to be completed online, but, again, some on campus is needed to finish.
For online degree seekers, there are several Master level (as well as the one PhD) tracts for adult learners, ensuring that graduate work doesn’t interfere with the daily working life of most grad students. For the PhD, there are options for both Bachelor and Master degree holders (the BN-PhD program of course requiring more credits than the MSN-PhD), as well as one for those already holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice (there is also a dual degree program for the PhD and DNP, but not entirely online). In addition, Master’s online programs exist in several areas, including the MS in Optical Science and a Master’s in Special Education. As with undergrad programs, there are several mostly online options for graduate degrees, with some, like the MBA, that have weekend/evening classes for working professionals and allow even more flexibility in degree seeking. There are also several post-grad certifications online, including teacher certifications and optical science.
Whether web based, correspondence, or video tapes, distance learners have the same quality education as traditional students, as well as all the aid and advisement afforded those on campus. Advisement, library access, and class registration are completely online through MyUA and courses are all offered through D2L (Desire to Learn, the engine that organizes all online learning). Textbooks and materials are online, or, if in correspondence (some of which can be submitted electronically) mailed and organized through the Distance Learning office.
Whether for research purposes, online graduate work, or to simply enjoy college in the desert, the University of Arizona has been in Tucson longer that Arizona has been a state, which is a sure sign of quality (in addition to the numerous recognitions and awards they receive).