The University of Iowa: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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The University of Iowa

Center for Credit Programs

Iowa City, Iowa


In cooperation with University of Iowa academic colleges and departments, the Center for Credit Programs (CCP) of the University of Iowa's Division of Continuing Education delivers University credit courses, both in Iowa City and off campus, to nontraditional and other part-time students who seek a college degree, career advancement, or self-improvement. The CCP supports some 20,000 enrollments annually, including some 3,000 Guided Independent Study (GIS) registrations. Distance education courses may use interactive and broadcast television (available only within Iowa), streaming video, or independent study and Web courses (available worldwide to English-speaking students). Approximately 120 GIS courses are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


University of Iowa distance education courses employ a variety of delivery media. Asynchronous independent study has been available for nine decades. All GIS courses are available on the Web in an eBook format. Printed study guides are available for a fee. Web courses provide students with numerous benefits: assignment submission/return by e-mail, online text ordering, instructional enhancements, access to library resources, and others. Streaming video/audio or CDROMs supplement some courses. Students interact with instructors via mail, fax, e-mail, or toll-free telephone. Within Iowa, degree program and other courses are offered via interactive video through the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), an advanced fiber-optic telecommunications network linking educational sites across the state. Semester-based Web courses also support these programs.


The Bachelor of Liberal Studies (B.L.S.) external degree program provides an opportunity for students to complete a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa without attending classes on campus or without ever visiting the campus. The B.L.S. degree has no specific major. Instead, students concentrate course work in three of five distribution areas (humanities, communications and arts, natural science and math, social sciences, or professional fields).

The B.L.S. degree is a flexible program offering convenient, self-paced work; advisers who work with students to create an individual plan of study; the diverse preparation a liberal arts degree provides; the flexibility to match education efforts with career goals; and an undergraduate degree awarded by a nationally recognized institution. More than 700 students have graduated from the program since it was established in 1977 by the Iowa Board of Regents, and hundreds of students are currently active. For more specific information, see the CCP Web site or call the toll-free number below.


The LionHawk program represents a formal partnership between Pennsylvania State University and the University of Iowa that allows students to earn both two- and four-year degrees without on-campus study. Students who complete Penn State's Extended Letters, Arts, and Sciences (ELAS) associate degree are ensured admission to the B.L.S. program. Upon admission to the B.L.S. program, all General Education Program requirements are considered satisfied except for the foreign language requirement.


Students receive ongoing registration assistance, advising, library access, and other services. The CCP provides extended office hours (Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Time) to better accommodate nontraditional students.

Established in 1847, the University of Iowa is a major national research university with a solid liberal arts foundation. Iowa was the first U.S. public university to admit men and women on an equal basis. It has won international recognition for its wealth of achievements in the arts, sciences, and humanities. A member of the select Association of American Universities, the University of Iowa maintains a balance between scholarly research and teaching. It places a strong emphasis on undergraduate, international, and interdisciplinary education. The University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and other accrediting agencies.


Credit for B.L.S. degree requirements may be met in several ways, including University of Iowa campus, off-campus, or evening classes (available only in Iowa); transfer credit from other institutions (a minimum number of credits from the University of Iowa are required); and other methods. B.L.S. students primarily take GIS courses, which are available anywhere, are available for enrollment continuously, and allow for self-paced learning. GIS courses provide semester-hour credit. There is no limit on the number of GIS courses that may be applied toward the B.L.S. degree.


All courses and instructors are approved by appropriate departmental and collegiate officers. Courses are taught by regular or adjunct faculty members or advanced graduate students.


Students applying for admission to the B.L.S. degree program may request an information packet by calling the CCP toll-free number. No special admission requirements are necessary to enroll in GIS courses. Enrollment in GIS courses does not constitute admission to the University of Iowa.


Tuition for GIS and semester-based distance learning courses is the same as University of Iowa residential tuition. For 2003–04, tuition was $181 per semester hour for undergraduates and $280 per semester hour for graduates. GIS tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Students should check with the CCP for new tuition rates after July 1, 2004.


For information concerning the use of federal financial aid for GIS courses, University of Iowa degree-seeking students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (319-335-1450).


Center for Credit Programs
116 International Center
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802
Telephone: 800-272-6430 (toll-free)
Fax: 319-335-2740
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


Students may enroll in GIS courses at any time. Enrollment forms may be found in the GIS catalog or on the CCP Web site. Students paying by credit card may enroll by phone. For information or enrollment in other CCP courses, students should call the toll-free number.

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The University of Iowa: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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The University of Iowa: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth