Washington State University: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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Distance Degree Programs
Pullman, Washington

Distance Learning Program

WSU's Office of Distance Degree Programs offers degree-completion programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in business administration (with majors in management information systems (MIS) or management and operations), criminal justice, human development, humanities, or social sciences; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.); and a Master of Science (M.S.) in agriculture. These programs are designed primarily for students who have completed the equivalent of the first two years of college. They are delivered directly to students' homes through a variety of distance learning technologies, primarily the Internet. They are the same degrees offered on three WSU campuses; requirements are the same, but students can complete their degrees without attending WSU in person.

Delivery Media

Courses are delivered primarily by the Internet, DVD, CD, videotapes and lab kits (for rent), and print materials. Most courses have Web and e-mail requirements.

Programs of Study

WSU's B.A. in social sciences is a liberal arts degree that offers students multiple options and emphases in the social sciences and provides a broad background applicable to a variety of careers. It emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach with possible major and/or minor concentrations in anthropology, criminal justice, history, human development, political science, psychology, sociology, and women's studies. A formal minor in business administration is also available.

WSU's Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice prepares students for positions in the criminal justice system, other government agencies, and the private sector. A completion degree, the distance B.A. in criminal justice offers a policy-focused curriculum, providing students with a broad exposure in the social sciences that is preferred by government and private agencies.

A B.A. in human development is also available with an asynchronous distance format from WSU. The human development degree is especially effective for individuals who work in child- or elder-care programs or in direct service roles with a variety of special-needs clients. The degree program includes an internship component supervised by a WSU faculty member.

The B.A. in business administration with a major in management and operations is designed to provide a broad foundation for employment in the world of business, either at a large corporation or in the student's own business. A set curriculum, fully accredited by AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, leads students through courses in finance, management, information systems, marketing, international business, business law, and economics.

Within the B.A. in business administration, WSU now offers an MIS major. This major, available entirely in an online, asynchronous format, is designed to enable graduates to enter the working world as systems analysts, systems project managers, or Web masters. The set curriculum, also fully accredited by AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, takes students through computer hardware issues, software applications, and networking protocol. Graduates are employed with the nation's top corporations and consulting firms as well as in numerous international settings.

The B.A. in humanities is a broad-based, interdisciplinary liberal arts degree program. It is configured in the same manner as the social sciences program. There is not a set list of required courses for students to take. Working with an academic adviser, each student develops a program of study that best meets his or her educational goals. The focus of the program is on developing skills in communication, writing, problem solving, and critical thinking, with a focus on the humanities.

Washington State University (WSU), the state's land-grant institution, is dedicated to the preparation of students for productive lives and professional careers, to basic and applied research, and to the dissemination of knowledge. Founded in 1890, the University is a statewide institution with a main campus in Pullman, three branch campuses, ten community learning centers, and numerous Cooperative Extension and research facilities throughout the state. WSU is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, the University is an acknowledged leader in developing and delivering distance education programs. Since 1992, WSU's Office of Distance Degree Programs (DDP) has been serving students in Washington and across the nation. The University's undergraduate core curriculum, including world civilization courses and expanded writing requirements, is nationally recognized. Money magazine has called WSU a "public ivy" and rated the honors program as one of the nation's best, and in 1998, Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rated WSU as the Most Wired College in the nation.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program is available for registered nurses. The Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing offer ten theory courses using Web-based software. In some circumstances, clinical courses may be taken close to home. Out-of-state students may be required to complete two clinical courses in Washington, which are scheduled based on negotiations between the student and faculty. RNs work with B.S.N.-prepared preceptors; nursing faculty members supervise the course. RN students must meet specific criteria prior to application to this program.

Emphasis of the M.S. in agriculture program is on the agricultural professional, practitioner, and educator. The program is designed for students, at a distance and on campus, who wish to prepare for or further their careers in agriculture without having to relocate or interfere with their current employment. A maximum number of electives is permitted to enable the student to concentrate in one or two fields, or otherwise tailor the curriculum to fit their particular needs. Students may choose between a thesis or nonthesis program.

To earn a bachelor's degree, WSU generally requires the completion of at least 120 semester credits, 40 at the upper-division level. At least 30 of the 120 credits must be taken through WSU. The 120 credits must include courses that meet WSU General Education Requirements.

Nearly 200 courses are available to the students. Courses are also available from the National Universities Degree Consortium (NUDC), a group of nine land-grant and state universities formed to address the needs of adult and part-time learners.

Student Services

Academic advising is available to all prospective and currently enrolled degree-seeking students through toll-free telephone or e-mail. The WSU Office of Admissions prepares an official evaluation of a student's transcript when he or she is admitted to the University. A DDP adviser assists DDP students in developing a study plan based on the program options and University requirements. A student services coordinator is available to help students with logistical details.

Students register online or with support from DDP client services. DVDs, CDs, videotapes, lab kits, and other supplementary materials are available through the DDP office. Students may order textbooks and course guides from the WSU Students Book Corporation online or via the toll-free telephone number.

All DDP students have access to the WSU libraries. The DDP librarian is available via toll-free telephone to assist students with database searches, checking out materials, and copying.

The ASWSU-DDP Career Counselor is available to WSU DDP students to discuss career-related concerns. These may range from developing a school-to-career identity to providing assistance and resources to find satisfying work or a graduate school program.

Credit Options

Students may transfer to WSU a maximum of 60 semester credits of lower-division credit and up to 30 credits from other four-year institutions. The exact number of transfer credits accepted by WSU may vary depending upon an individual's choice of degree.

WSU recognizes there are alternative ways students may gain knowledge and credit. The University has developed a method of accepting credit by examination, including Advanced Placement (AP), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES, and American Council on Education (ACE). Interested students should check with their advisers for details.


There are 1,100 full-time and 204 part-time instructional faculty members in the Washington State University system. Eighty-one percent have terminal academic degrees.


Admission to Distance Degree Programs requires at least 27 semester or 40 quarter credits of transferable college course work from an accredited community or four-year college, with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Tuition and Fees

In 2004–05, undergraduate tuition (semester-based) was $258 per semester credit for Washington residents and $376 per semester credit for nonresidents. DVD, CD, or videotape rental charges vary by course. Correspondence (flexible enrollment) course tuition is $189 per credit. Payment options for full-time students are available as well.

Financial Aid

A financial aid adviser is available to all DDP students. WSU students receive aid from all federal programs, such as the Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) and the Federal Perkins, Federal Stafford Student, and Federal PLUS Loans. Washington residents are eligible for institutional and state need grants. In 2004–05, WSU awarded approximately $190 million in financial aid. Approximately 61 percent of all WSU students receive financial aid.


Client Services
Distance Degree Programs
Van Doren 104
Washington State University
P.O. Box 645220
Pullman, Washington 99164-5220
Phone: 509-335-3557
800-222-4978 (toll-free)
Fax: 509-335-4850
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.distance.wsu.edu


WSU degree-seeking students must be admitted to the University. Admission requires that a student submit an admissions form, have official copies of his or her transcript(s) sent directly from the postsecondary institution(s) attended to WSU's Office of Admissions, and pay the $38 application fee.

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