Roger Williams University: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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Open College
Bristol and Providence, Rhode Island

Distance Learning Program

Since its inception in 1974, more than 4,000 students have graduated from the Open College at Roger Williams University. In the 2001–02 academic year, eighty courses were offered via distance learning. The average distance learning enrollment is 200 students per semester.

Academic programs are divided into regular semesters of study, including fall, spring, and summer. Campus residency is not required.

Delivery Media

The Open College emphasizes an external approach to education, and the instructional methods available to off-campus students include nonclassroom courses, such as external courses, internships, online courses, and independent study courses. Some of the external courses may include guided instruction via videotapes, audiotapes, computer software, computer conferencing, World Wide Web, e-mail, and print. Students and teachers may meet in person or interact via audio conferencing, mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, and World Wide Web. The following equipment may be required: fax machine, computer, Internet access, and e-mail.

Programs of Study

Distance education through the Open College at Roger Williams University offers baccalaureate degrees in business management, criminal justice, industrial technology, and public administration.

The business management major provides students with "marketplace" skills such as problem solving, information gathering and processing, and project managing. The degree also prepares students to appreciate the overall challenges of a business operation and to function effectively within an integrated business environment.

The criminal justice major is designed for students who are employed, or who are seeking employment, in direct law enforcement professions or public or private criminal justice–related agencies.

The industrial technology major is designed for students with technical and/or managerial backgrounds and interests and who are employed or seeking employment in manufacturing or service industries.

The public administration major prepares students for government service on the federal, state, or local level and for employment in nonprofit organizations and international administration.

To earn a baccalaureate degree, a minimum of 120 credits are required through any combination of learning experiences, including credit for previous college work, military training and experience, CLEP exams, and credit documentation. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits through the Open College at Roger Williams University. Also, a minimum 2.0 grade point average is required in all courses carrying a letter grade and in all required major courses.

Each student is assigned to a faculty adviser who works with the student to develop an education and degree plan. The adviser also assists in registration, credit documentation, and enrollment procedures; identifies appropriate courses and learning experiences; and supervises student work.

Special Programs

The Open College at Roger Williams University offers internships, co-ops, and practicums for employment-related learning experiences in all academic degree programs.

Student Services

All college services available to the traditional student are also available to distance learning students, including access to the University's library, computer support, tutoring, advising, and career placement.

At Roger Williams University (RWU), Learning to Bridge the World is more than a slogan. From its scenic waterfront campus, the University educates and enlightens people from down the street, throughout New England, across the country, and around the world. Roger Williams, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, is a premier liberal arts university, strengthened by professional schools and Rhode Island's only law school. Its dedicated faculty members teach more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, all of whom share a love of learning, a commitment to service, and a global perspective. In 2002, Roger Williams became the first university in the United States to offer scholarships to women from Afghanistan to help rebuild their society through education.

The University's Open College is a comprehensive external degree program designed for people interested in nontraditional education. Most of the students are working adults who are able to pursue their educational programs with little or no interference with their personal or professional commitments.

Credit Options

Many students are able to enter the Open College with considerable advanced standing. Students may reduce the total time required for completion of studies and degree requirements with up to three years of credit from military service and training, transfer of credits obtained from other colleges, credit documentation that awards credit for life and job-related learning experiences, and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or other advanced credit exams.


The Open College at Roger Williams University has a total of 37 faculty members to provide instruction. Fifteen are full-time faculty members at RWU (41 percent), and 22 are part-time (adjunct) faculty members (59 percent). Nineteen faculty members (51 percent) have doctoral or other terminal degrees. All faculty members have at least one graduate degree.


Students must be able to enter with advanced standing, based on credits already acquired from previous college attendance, military training, employment experiences, and/or CLEP exams. Also, preference is given to students who have access to various educational and learning resources in the event such resources need to be incorporated into their academic programs. Resources may include, but are not limited to, libraries, classroom courses at local colleges, local proctors, potential sites for internship placement, and computers.

Tuition and Fees

Open College tuition varies by program and ranged from $750 to $1340 per 3-credit course for the 2002–03 academic year. The application fee is $50; no registration fee is required.

Financial Aid

Aside from various forms of military tuition assistance that might be available to service members, Open College students are eligible for all of the traditional forms of financial aid that are normally associated with adult and continuing education students. Approximately 50 percent of distance learning students receive financial assistance (excluding employer reimbursement programs).


John Stout, Dean
Open College
Roger Williams University
150 Washington Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Phone: 401-254-3530
800-458-7144 Ext. 3530 (toll-free)
Fax: 401-254-3560
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


Applications must be submitted with appropriate documentation, such as a resume, official high school transcripts, GED scores, or official transcripts from previous colleges or universities. Service members must submit a copy of credit recommendations for all military training and experience from Form DD295, prepared by military education officers, or SMART/AARTS transcripts.

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