FAQ

DISTANCE LEARNING FAQ

Answers to your questions about applications, admissions, and the learning experience


How does online learning work?

Schedule

Our programs follows a semester schedule with terms in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Web Design consists of 16-week semesters during Spring and Fall, and 13 weeks during Summer. Some of these courses are live. For a schedule, visit the curriculum page.

All other programs follow a 12-week schedule. These courses are ‘asynchronous.’ Asynchronous instructional activities allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule within the parameters of the syllabus. In most cases, this means assignments can be completed at any time during the week of the course, rather than at a specific class meeting time. There are occasions when an instructor requires a real-time discussion or lecture, which will be indicated in the syllabus.

Learning Experience

For asynchronous courses, you watch recorded courses online, on your schedule. You will then be assigned chapters to read and topics to research, papers to write, and projects to complete. Much of the work is hands-on, built around “a-ha!” moments with real-world experiences you can apply in your current job. Throughout the program, you’ll have live online interactions with your instructors and fellow students through discussion board posts. Enrollment in each course is kept intentionally small to help you develop close bonds with your instructors and classmates.

For live courses, you will interact with your instructors and classmates in discussion. Click here to watch a video on how live courses work in the web design program.

Time Commitment

Time spent in each class is not determined by the credit hours for each course. In addition to watching classes, you can expect to spend 3-10 hours each week on classwork activities, including projects, discussions and blogs, and exams.

Technical Requirements

Participation in an UF online course requires:

  • Regular and frequent access to a computer that is less than 5 years old.
  • Speakers or headphones.
  • Reliable Internet connectivity and a compatible browser.
  • A UFID number and UF email address.
  • Additional technological requirements as noted in course syllabi or via instructor communication.

Community

Program directors, academic coordinators, instructors and students contribute to the online learning experience.

Program Directors
An appointed program director oversees each program. Program directors:

  • Guide instructors through course creation
  • Ensure courses meet rigorous academic and professional requirements
  • Interact with students through career advising

Academic Coordinators
Students in all of our online programs are assisted with personalized course schedules that are developed specifically for them by their academic advisor. Advisors also:

  • Recommend courses
  • Provide advice regarding course equivalency substitutions, prerequisites, and academic requirements
  • Monitor student progress
  • Assist students with obstacles to academic success such as extenuating circumstances or emergencies

Instructors
The instructor is responsible for the course. Faculty members ensure course content reflects current standards within the industry and grading is consistent. Faculty members create learning opportunities through:

  • Explicit instruction on goals for the course
  • A schedule to follow for completing course activities
  • Expertise in the subject area
  • Instruction organized into activities (learning by doing)
  • Guidance in completing activities and assignments

Instructors may schedule Skype/Google Hangout office hours or specific times when groups of students may go online to have questions answered. Instructors also respond through online discussions or email, and they make general announcements through the course website. Contact information is available in the syllabus or on the course site.

Students
Other students in the course add value to the online experience. Contact with other students may be through group projects, discussion boards, email or social media.

Course Delivery

UF’s online graduate programs allow working professionals to earn an advanced degree from the convenience of home. You benefit from the full resources, academics and faculty of a top public university without having to relocate or leave your current job. 100 percent of your courses, assignments, tests and discussions take place online. You never have to step foot on campus. Once you graduate, you have a master’s degree from one of the country’s most respected universities.

Courses are delivered through elearning.ufl.edu, home to the Canvas learning management system. You must login with your UF email address in order to access your courses. Courses in which students are enrolled are listed on the Home tab after login.

Within individual course sites, menus feature a link to the course syllabus, which outlines assignments, exams, instructions and expectations. Other areas of the course site include lecture materials, readings, linked documents and websites, and discussion forums. At the start of your semester, the instructor will provide an introductory video that helps you see how everything is organized.

Like a face-to-face course, an online course might require some things to be done independently while others be done in conjunction with other students.

During the semester, instructors will post assignment grades to the Grades page in Canvas.

Testing

All assignments, exams, or presentations will be delivered online through the Canvas system.

What is a graduate certificate?

What is a certificate and how does it differ from a Master’s degree?

A student enrolled in our Master of Arts in Mass Communication graduate program (MAMC) seeks a master’s degree. The student takes coursework that runs from 33 to 38 credit hours, which is 11 to 13 classes.

A graduate certificate student is not pursuing a degree. She is completing a shorter term of study, generally four courses or 12 to 14 credit hours. The graduate certificate signifies completion of these courses. The courses can sometimes be used to satisfy degree requirements for a master’s degree – if the graduate certificate student applies to a graduate program that will accept the courses.

University of Florida offers eight MAMC distance specializations: Audience Analytics, Digital StrategyGlobal Strategic Communication, Political CommunicationPublic Interest Communication, Public Relations and Communication Management, Social Media, and Web Design and Online Communication. Completing any of these specializations results in a graduate degree.

We offer three graduate certificates created from four courses that are part of the relevant broader MAMC specialization. These certificate classes are the core classes from the masters’ specializations. A graduate certificate student does not take more than these four courses unless they apply to the master’s specialization. At that point, the certificate classes count toward the MAMC, thereby shortening the time to earn a degree. A graduate certificate student must decide whether completing the certificate is their goal or whether they will apply for the master’s program.

Additionally, the college offers two certificates that are not part of any MAMC program. These certificates are Cross Media Sales and Communicating Value and Web Conversion. Students who complete the Cross Media Sales certificate cannot use these classes to satisfy an MAMC specialization. However, students who complete the Communicating Value and Web Conversion certificate can transfer those classes into the Digital Strategy specialization.

Students who complete the Global Strategic Communication certificate can use those credits toward the master’s specializations in Audience Analytics, Public Interest Communication, or Public Relations.

Are there other differences between a certificate and a master’s degree?

The two biggest are: a) graduate certificate students do not qualify for federally guaranteed financial aid (student loans), and b) graduate certificate students have a shorter application process than do MAMC students. Most significantly, graduate certificate students do not need to provide GRE scores as part of their application.

How can one choose between a certificate and a master’s degree?

A master’s degree is a significantly bigger accomplishment because it results in a degree. It takes longer and gives students a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of a specialization. A graduate certificate is faster to complete, does not confer a degree, but provides useful skills and knowledge about a subject area. Completing a graduate certificate is also an achievement and can make someone more attractive to current and prospective employers.

What is the cost?

Tuition

Costs of online courses are equal to tuition plus university fees. University fees average $36 per credit hour. Fees vary by program, depending on specific costs of curriculum development, technology tools, and course mentors. Each program’s fees are examined annually and adjusted up or down accordingly on a cost-recovery basis.

Residency

There are no out of state fees for these programs.

Financial Aid

Degree-seeking online students are eligible for the same financial aid as campus-based students if they register for six or more hours per semester. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to satisfy the first requirement requested by the Financial Aid Office. Click here for instructions and details.

Fee Deadlines and Payment

Current online students may review financial obligations through MyUFL. Student Financial Services handles student financial matters including payment deadlines and online billing and fees. Financial aid funds are not disbursed until after Drop Add. Students can check fund disbursement and tuition payments prior to the fee payment deadline in MyUFL.

How do I apply?

Enrollment Period

There are three enrollment periods each year, and students must apply six weeks before the start of a semester. Application deadlines for the next three semesters are below.

Application Deadlines:

Spring 2018:
Priority – October 15
Final – November 1
Summer 2018:
Priority – March 15
Final – April 1
Fall 2018:
Priority – June 15
Final – July 1

To start your application process, contact us today.

GRE

The GRE is required for all master’s degree applicants. It is not required for graduate certificate applicants.

Applicants must earn minimum GRE scores of 156 verbal and 146 quantitative. Writing scores are subject to consideration. To be eligible, GRE scores must be from within the past five years.

While the GRE is not required for graduate certificate applicants, applicants need to take the test later if they plan to transfer into the full master’s degree track.

See our page for tips on tackling the GRE.

Academic Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be accepted into either the certificate or master’s degree programs:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • GPA of 3.0 or better for overall undergraduate studies
  • GPA of 3.0 or better for all upper-division undergraduate work
  • Submit a statement of goals
  • Submit a current resume

Additionally, applicants for the master’s program must:

  • Earn suitable scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
    • Applicants must earn minimum scores of 156 verbal and 146 quantitative.
    • GRE writing scores are subject to consideration
  • Submit three letters of recommendation

Admission is determined by several factors beyond the application material, including space availability and supervisory availability in specialized areas. Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

I’m accepted! Now what?

Orientation

Congratulations on your acceptance! We will be in touch with details on how to access the orientation materials. Orientation takes place within Canvas, and during the video you will learn how to:

  • Navigate Canvas (the online learning environment).
  • Contact administrators and advisors.
  • Register, pay for courses, and obtain course materials.
  • Access grades.
  • Understand student rights and responsibilities.

Registration

Registration for the upcoming semester begins in advance of that semester. Students register for classes during a registration window designated by the Registrar. Every semester, students should:

  • Check the academic calendar for registration windows.
  • Contact your advisor prior to registration to plan a schedule and work out a degree plan.
  • For tips on how to register, visit Registrar Tips.

Course Materials

Instructors generally use online reading materials, but occasionally a book may be required. In this case, details will be provided in your syllabus.

Course Access

All online courses are delivered through the Canvas Learning Management System.

Students are enrolled into course sites 2-5 days before the first day of the semester, though the actual time students begin to have access is up to the instructor.

For course access:

How can I get more information?

Questions

Submit general questions through our Contact Us form. An enrollment coordinator will email you within 24 hours if you submit your inquiry during the week, or on Monday if submitted during the weekend. You also may call your enrollment coordinator at 352-273-3412.

How can I succeed?

Tips for a Successful Learning Experience

  • UFID
    Courses are unavailable to students who have not activated their UFIDs. It can take 24 hours to complete this process.
  • Hardware
    Review the technical requirements for online learning involve hardware, software and a reliable Internet connection. Test your computer, speakers, and connection to the Internet. If you have issues watching the orientation video, please contact the UF Computing Help Desk so you can resolve your issues before classes start.
  • Textbooks and Additional Materials
    Most instructors will send the syllabus a week or more before courses start. Use this time to arrange for the purchase or rental of textbooks and any additional materials indicated on the course syllabus.
  • Explore the Course Site
    Students are encouraged to explore the course site early to become familiar with course materials.
  • Collect Support References
    When technical issues happen, a quick method of contact for support is essential. Make note of support team email contacts and phone numbers.

How will a master’s degree help my career?

Companies, nonprofits and government agencies need educated people to lead their digital communication initiatives. Employers want proof you have the kind of expertise that can only come from a structured educational environment that teaches everything from campaign concept to execution to measuring results. A master’s degree gives you a substantial edge over your competition. Visit our Student Success Rates page to see which companies hire are graduates!

Benefits with a UF MAMC

A Master of Arts in Mass Communication from University of Florida is the best path to a rewarding career in digital communication, but we know that path will last a lifetime. To ensure our graduates are always on the leading edge, we’re proud to offer Master Access, a one-of-a-kind benefit to our students. Master Access allows our graduates to observe future online master degree classes for as long as they want. This unique opportunity ensures your skills stay sharp as the industry and technology evolve. Master Access participants are welcome to audit classes from any of our online MAMC specializations, not only your chosen degree.

Careers

Practically every company in the world today – from mom-and-pop shops to international conglomerates – use digital communication to get in front of its core audiences. With a master’s degree specializing in communication, you’ll find a world of opportunities. Create impactful campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for a national nonprofit. Keep the country informed by working for the White House. Design a stunning and engaging website for Procter & Gamble. Engage with audiences around the world for brands like Coca-Cola and Porsche. Your master’s degree can be the key to getting your foot in the door.

Why UF?

Earning a degree from the University of Florida makes you part of an elite group, a family of more than 360,000 Gator alumni across the globe.

Three University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications online communication degrees are included in the EdSmart.org list of Top 20 Online Communications Degree Programs. Overall UF received the number two ranking for online degrees and the College was recognized for the Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication Media & Society and Mass Communication Master’s degrees in Web Design and Online Communication and Social Media. Judging was based on various criteria including the type of degrees available, price, retention rate and student to faculty ratio. The online communications master’s degree program was lauded as best in the nation.

Backed by our high academic standards, being a UF alum opens doors to influential people and new career opportunities. Beyond this network of worldwide connections, a UF graduate degree provides a lifetime of value through a program called Master Access. This unique graduate benefit allows you to observe courses in all of our MAMC specializations for years to come, helping you stay on the leading edge of communications.

UF’s College of Journalism and Communications is one of the nation’s top programs in mass communication education and research. Smart Money and The Wall Street Journal list University of Florida as the nation’s second-best tuition-to-graduate-salary payback.

Listing a University of Florida graduate degree on your resume may just be the thing to get your foot in the door of your dream job. Ours grads report earning an average of $18,000 more upon completion of the program.


Merit

Quick Facts

33-40 credit hours
97% Employment Rate
Avg. $18-20k change in salary
Stats & Rankings

Reputation

Application Deadlines

Spring 2018
Priority: Oct. 15
Final: Nov. 1

Summer 2018
Priority: March 15
Final: April 1

APPLY NOW


Do you want more information? Contact Us!