University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus

Independent and Distance Learning, College of Continuing Education

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Independent and Distance Learning (IDL) offers outstanding university credit courses using mail and electronic technologies. In a recent year, the department received approximately 6,000 registrations from students throughout the United States and abroad. The 170 courses are fully accredited each year by approximately fifty different academic departments of the University. IDL is part of the College of Continuing Education (CCE), the division of the University of Minnesota that serves adult and part-time learners.


Most courses are self-paced and available by mail for home study and mail lesson exchange with faculty members. Many faculty members provide the option of e-mail for lesson exchange. A growing number of online courses are fully interactive. Many of the online courses take place in fixed semester terms. All students who register for college credit with Independent and Distance Learning receive an e-mail and Internet account.


Approximately 170 credit courses are offered in a wide range of academic departments, including such varied subjects as applied business, child psychology, ecology, English literature and writing courses, management, math, and physics. Two science courses come with home lab kits: general biology and elementary physics. Independent and Distance Learning courses are known for their high academic quality and variety of topics. There are no degree programs available. There are two upper-level undergraduate certificates available online: applied business and paper science and engineering.


The Continuing Education Information Center helps with finding information about specific courses, how to register, and financial aid.

University of Minnesota libraries fully support distance learners with reference services, research assistance, and home delivery of documents.

If students have a disability, Independent and Distance Learning coordinates efforts to provide accommodations that remove academic and physical barriers to earning credits. Such accommodations may include more time to complete exams or an alternate format for an exam, a separate testing room, audiotaping required materials, and taped rather than written comments from an instructor. Requests for such accommodations should be made well in advance of when they are needed so that necessary documentation may be obtained and accommodations facilitated.


IDL has approximately 90 faculty members. Approximately 40 percent are University of Minnesota professors, 30 percent are graduate student teaching assistants, and 30 percent are adjunct faculty members, lecturers, or others. All professors and many adjunct faculty members hold doctorates or other terminal degrees, and all are approved by the relevant academic departments.


There are no admission requirements to register for courses through Independent and Distance Learning. Students who want to earn a certificate in applied business or paper science and engineering should visit

The University of Minnesota, with its four campuses, is one of the most comprehensive universities in the United States and ranks among the most prestigious. It is both a land-grant university with a strong tradition of education and public service and a major research institution. It was founded as a preparatory school in 1851 and was reorganized as a university in 1869, benefiting from the Morrill (or Land-Grant) Act of 1862.

The University of Minnesota has campuses in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Duluth, Morris, and Crookston, Minnesota. The Twin Cities campus, home of the College of Continuing Education, is a classic Big Ten campus with comprehensive academic programs offering unlimited opportunities for students and faculty.


Students who are not admitted to University of Minnesota certificate or degree programs qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of location. Tuition for 2003–04 was $208.45 per semester credit. A University-wide fee of $30 per credit was assessed. An administrative fee of $75 per IDL course enrollment was assessed. Course study guides are included in the fee. Texts and other materials are purchased separately from the University of Minnesota Book Store.


Financial aid is limited. Eligibility requirements may vary, but most aid programs place restrictions on some types of IDL enrollment and require admission to a University of Minne sota, Twin Cities, degree program or eligible certificate program. Non-admitted students who reside in Min nesota may be eligible for College of Continuing Education grants or scholarships, which have more flexible eligibility criteria. Employer assistance may also be an option for some students.


College of Continuing Education Information Center
101 Wesbrook Hall
University of Minnesota
77 Pleasant Street, SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
Telephone: 612-624-4000 800-234-6564 (toll-free)
Fax: 612-625-1511
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:


No application is needed to register in individual courses. For information about applying for the online certificate programs in applied business or paper science and engineering, students can visit

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth