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Union Institute & University: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

Union Institute & University

Center for Distance Learning and Vermont College

Cincinnati, Ohio


All degrees offered at UI&U can be earned at a distance. All Union Institute & University distance learning programs emphasize individualized learning plans, one-to-one mentoring, flexible scheduling of academic activities, and academic rigor.


UI&U's distance learning activities are supported by instructional technology and learning management systems that provide opportunities for collaborative learning environments to be created anytime, anyplace. Union's programs utilize both asynchronous and synchronous methodologies. Courses, seminars, and individually designed learning activities involve a high degree of learner-faculty interaction supported by computer conferencing. Library and other learner support services are also available to distance learners electronically through the University's Research Engine and Campus Web student information system.


Each degree program is carefully designed by the learner and faculty member to meet the needs and goals of the learner. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary studies in the humanities and social sciences through a powerful integration of theory and practical application.

Degrees in the College of Undergraduate Studies (CUS) and Vermont College's Undergraduate Program (VCU) can be completed in eighteen months to four years. They feature a focused area of concentration (major field of study) and general education requirements, which ensure breadth and depth of knowledge across a wide range of disciplines. Learners complete 120–128 semester credit hours to earn their degree. Common concentrations include business and management, communications, criminal justice studies, education, psychology, social sciences, and a variety of arts and humanities, many of which are individually designed.

Since 1969, the graduate division has offered a Master of Arts degree with concentrations in humanities and social sciences that can be completed in a minimum of eighteen months through an individually tailored study plan. Licensure in counseling psychology is offered through the Department of Graduate Psychology and Counseling, based at the Vermont College Brattleboro campus. The Master of Education features areas of study in curriculum and instruction (including a teaching licensure option), educational leadership (including an administrative licensure option), guidance (with a guidance licensure option), and issues in education. The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in writing offers a two-year terminal degree for adult students and working writers, with concentrations in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults offers a two-year terminal degree for adult students and working writers, with concentrations in picture book and middle grade. The M.F.A. in visual art is a two-year terminal degree program for working artists. Areas of study include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, craft as fine art, video/film, and nontraditional media.

A pioneer in innovative higher education, Union Institute & University (UI&U) was founded to accommodate the goals, aspirations, career, and educational needs of adults seeking alternatives to traditional processes. Individualized degree plans include the arts (both visual and creative writing), business, education, government, health professions, holistic studies, leadership and philanthropy, management, and more. UI&U recently acquired Vermont College and its highly acclaimed master's programs, and is now uniquely positioned to offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs both on-site and at a distance (online). On-site residency requirements vary by program and range from no residential attendance requirement, two days to two weeks at the Vermont College campus, or a ten-day doctoral program entry colloquia at sites around the nation. More than 2,500 learners are enrolled from all fifty states and more than twenty countries worldwide, studying independently outside traditional classroom settings, in vibrant online learning communities, or in communities of learners with similar interests. The average age of the undergraduate learners is 37; the average age of the doctoral candidates is 47. Degree programs build on previous learning and employ the creative engagement of knowledge through a wide variety of learning resources under the close guidance and evaluation of the University's highly qualified faculty. Union Institute & University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Lifelong Learning offers online credit (undergraduate and graduate) and noncredit seminars and workshops that draw on the person's experience and are designed to integrate one-toone and collaborative learning using activity-based learning. Areas of specialty include writing, family history, interdisciplinary arts, and sciences.

UI&U's doctoral program offers the Ph.D., which can be completed in a minimum of three years enrollment and includes an internship and a capstone project demonstrating excellence. Union also provides educational programs that are designed for particular populations of adult learners, including substance abuse counselors and criminal justice professionals.


UI&U uses an extensive online Research Engine, accessible through its Web site and the Campus Web feature, which allows learners to customize their Web interfaces. The Research Engine is a global "library without walls," providing unlimited access to electronic databases, links to authoritative resources, and an extensive reference desk. In addition, the Gary Library on Vermont College's Montpelier campus supports research and study. The University has interlibrary loan arrangements with many schools and local libraries, most of which are accessible via personal computer. Financial Aid, Academic Records, Business Office, and learner advising services are accessible electronically.


Union Institute & University's Undergraduate Programs accept academic course credit (grade C or better) earned at regionally accredited postsecondary institutions when appropriate to the learner's degree plan. The programs may also accept credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Articulation agreement leads to additional transfer credit possibilities. Matriculating learners earn credit toward the remaining degree requirements through new learning or prior learning assessment. Credit and requirements for graduation vary by program at Vermont College. Admissions counselors can assist with specific information.


More than 260 full- and part-time scholars, writers, artists, and experts serve as faculty members, equipped with outstanding academic and professional qualifications as well as indepth experience working with adults. Learners develop close working relationships with the faculty members, who serve as mentors throughout the process. More than 90 percent of the full-time faculty members and 92 percent of the part-time faculty members have a Ph.D. or terminal degree in their field.


Admission requirements vary by program but rely on a variety of measures. Applicants should send transcripts from previous education, professional references, and narratives detailing life experiences and education goals.


Tuition varies by program. Undergraduate tuition for 2004–05 is $322 per semester credit hour. Master's programs tuition ranges from $5590 to $6310 per six-month semester. Doctoral program tuition is approximately $7875 per six-month semester. Applicants should contact the Business Office for more specific information.


General financial aid programs available include the Federal Pell Grant, Perkins, and Stafford Student Loans, and Federal Work-Study Programs. Learners may also be eligible for state-based financial aid. Veteran's benefits are available to eligible veterans enrolled through the Cincinnati, Vermont College, and California centers. Scholarships are also available. Learners should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.


Union Institute & University
440 East McMillan Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
Telephone: 513-861-6400 800-486-3116 (toll-free)
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


For most programs, Union Institute & University accepts and reviews applications for admission on a rolling basis, and admitted learners may begin the program in any semester. Prospective learners should contact the Admissions Office for application information.

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