How Online Learning Works

A student does her homework

This is my life

Joe Bloise
iMBA Graduate
Bath, PA
Joe Bloise
“This degree has already started to open doors for me that otherwise would have been closed… it has opened my eyes to thoughts, concepts, and ideas that I never would have thought of, had I not pursued the iMBA.”Read more
Debra Lampert-Rudman
Master's in Children's Literature
Pennington, NJ
Debra Lampert-Rudman
“I hope that the degree will open doors that will allow me to have an impact on the future of children's literature and literacy through my work with Barnes & Noble and other organizations.”Read more
Gerard de Marigny
Associate in Information Sciences and Technology
Henderson, NV
Associate in Science in IST graduate Gerard de Marigny
“I am only able to do this via the fantastic distance education program offered by Penn State. All of my professors at Penn State are professional, motivated, and full of insight.”Read more
Chris Goranson
Geographic Information Systems - GIS (Master's Degree)
New York, NY
Chris Goranson
“I couldn't imagine how difficult it would have been to apply this information if I had to wait two years while I was in school full-time.”Read more

How Online Learning Works

Watch this video to learn more about online learning.

For more than 150 years, Penn State has been delivering education at a distance, beginning with our correspondence courses in 1892. Using the latest technologies, we put a Penn State education within reach for people who aren't able to attend classes on campus or commit to full-time enrollment. Today, adult learners just like you are earning their degrees online through Penn State World Campus.

Anywhere, Anytime, Online

You can complete many of our degree programs at your own pace. World Campus courses are asynchronous — meaning you don't have to attend online classes at a specific time. Our students use a combination of self-study and peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network to facilitate instruction. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to enhance learning outcomes, all at times that are most convenient to you.

What to Expect

As an online student, you will interact with people from different backgrounds and situations, affording you with opportunities to experience many perspectives and concepts throughout your studies. Using chat, video conferencing, phone calls, email, social media, bulletin boards, and more, you'll stay connected with fellow students and faculty, building personal networks along the way.

Your courses are developed by faculty and technologists who understand the specific needs of learners in an online environment. Special consideration is given to advance planning and setting expectations in the online classroom, so each curriculum is outlined in a syllabus distributed at the start of the course. This document provides an overview of the course assignments, grading strategy, student and faculty expectations, and course materials, as well as an understanding of the course goals and learning outcomes.

Residency Requirements

A small number of our graduate degree programs feature a short residency designed to help students explore concepts that are best demonstrated face-to-face, while networking with each other and faculty. Most of our residencies are a few days to two weeks in duration, and occur with advance notice to allow students to make personal and professional accommodations. Programs that include a residency requirement are our iMBA (Master of Business Administration), Master of Health Administration, Master of Project Management and Master's in Supply Chain Management.