Over the last few months, everyone has had to move things online, but a lot of people have studied online for a long time before the pandemic! Through services like the Open University and distance learning courses, people have been able to achieve their academic dreams from afar. Since the pandemic, these options are becoming more and more fashionable, and so more people are talking about things like distance learning masters and doctorates. But what is a distance learning masters degree?

We’ve got everything you need to know about distance learning masters degrees, including where you can study them!

What is a distance learning masters?

ehat is a distance learning masters

It is relatively self-explanatory, in that distance learning masters allow students to complete their postgraduate degrees from a distance. Rather than moving to a new city or finding a course suitable near them, distance learning provides learners with the chance to learn and study online, full or part-time, from a distance.

Aside from the distance aspect, the degree works relatively similarly to most postgraduate qualifications. You attend timetabled lectures, seminars and tutorials and complete assignments based on the readings and sessions, culminating in a final project dissertation.

Once complete, the courses provide students with the same qualification as a usual masters degree, and they are then qualified to the same extent and can continue to a doctorate or take their qualification into the real world.

What are the benefits of studying a distance learning degree? 

whats good about distance learning

Studying a distance learning degree provides students with a lot of benefits, but before signing up for one, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons. So what are the benefits of studying a distance learning degree?

1. Flexibility

With studying online, from a distance, you get to work around your other responsibilities. Your whole life does not have to go on pause for your studies, and instead, they can work hand in hand. A distance learning masters will allow you to study flexibly and still keep the other aspects of your life.

2. Freedom

One of the most challenging thing when it comes to postgraduate studies is finding the time and the money. Suddenly moving, leaving your job can all put a financial strain on learners. This is made worse by the difference between the undergraduate and postgraduate loans. But with a distance learning degree (especially a part-time one!), you can work around a job, be it part or full-time. Keep lining those pockets and filling that brain!

3. Transferrable skills

Whilst the qualification you will get with a distance learning course is the same as other ways of study, you will also have extra skills to show for it. You will need to persevere, be self-motivated, and be a hard worker. You’ll also need IT competency and things like Zoom and email etiquette. These are all skills you will hone throughout your online studies, and they’ll look great on a CV later in life!

4. Study from anywhere

It sounds obvious, but a distance learning masters means you can study from literally anywhere! So if you’re thinking of doing a lot of travelling, but you also don’t want to put off your qualification for another year, then consider taking your studies with you with a distance learning degree. All you need is a device (laptop, tablet, phone) and some WiFi!

5. Studying online is cheaper

If you do have a limited budget, you will likely find that this option suits you very well. Not only can you work more, as we discussed, and live wherever is cheap rather than by your uni, but online programmes are often cheaper than the on-campus equivalents as they involve fewer resources.

How does the funding work?

distance learning masters

When looking to study a masters course, you will need to consider how you’re going to pay your tuition fees and also how you’re going to cover your rent and living costs whilst studying. One such way of covering the tuition fee is by applying for a Student Finance loan of up to £11,295.

This loan is not means-tested and will be paid directly into your bank account in three instalments across the academic year (or across your studies if you’re studying part-time). If you are studying part-time, you can only get payments for up to 2 years for the equivalent of a 1-year course, or up to 4 years for the equivalent of a 2-year course, or alternatively, up to 3 years where there is no equivalent full-time course.

To be eligible for this course, you must:

  • be a British citizen, or have been a resident in England for 3 years
  • be under 60 years old
  • be studying a masters
  • not already have a masters qualification or PhD

You might also be eligible if you are an EU national, a refugee, under humanitarian protection, an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or the child of a Swiss or Turkish worker.

Where can you study a distance learning masters? 

distance learning masters

Most universities offer some distance learning courses, however, we’ve got a list of the top UK universities ideal for distance learning.

1. University College London

UCL offers a range of distance learning courses – you can choose from MSc, MA and MBA degrees in everything from Education to Security. The university is ranked 8th in the QS rankings and 15th in world rankings.

2. University of Edinburgh

The programmes that the University of Edinburgh offer vary from courses such as Critical Care MSc, Digital Media MSc, to High Performance Computing MSc.

This university is ranked 20th in the QS ranking ad 30th in the world university ranking.

3. University of Manchester

One of Britain’s most famous universities, the University of Manchester, offers a range of online postgraduate courses such as Clinical Pharmacy MSc, Communication and Education MA, and even some masters by research courses.

Manchester is ranked 27 in the QS Rankings and 55th globally.

4. King’s College London

With 12 alumni winning Nobel Prizes, King’s College is up there in the rankings and offers a wide range of online learning courses. You can choose to study things like International Affairs, Neuroscience, Public Health and Marketing.

King’s College London is ranked 33 in QS rankings and 36th globally!

5. University of Warwick

Warwick is the ideal choice for those looking to study an MBA online. They have a range of choices, and their graduates are within the top 10 in the UK for highest earnings.

The university is ranked 62 in QS rankings and 77th globally.

6. University of Glasgow

As well as distance learning masters, Glasgow also offers short courses and MOOCS (massive online open courses). Choose from a range of courses in subjects like Education, Global Mental Health, Animal Nutrition and Psychology.

The University of Glasgow is ranked 67 in QS rankings and 99th in the world.

7. University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield has plenty of options for those looking to study distance learning courses. You can choose from courses in Education, Library and Information sciences, Music, Health, English, Engineering and Engineering.

Sheffield is ranked 78 in QS rankings and 117th in the world!

8. University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a highly ranked university with experts teaching great courses in subjects like Linguistics, History, Music, Teaching, and so much more.

Plus, the university is ranked 81 in QS rankings, and 112th globally.

9. University of Leeds

One of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, the University of Leeds mostly focuses on in-person teaching, however, they do offer Online Artificial Intelligence and Online Engineering MAnagement distance learning courses.

10. University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham has a whole range of distance learning masters, including revolutionary new courses like their Applied English Programme, or other subjects like Education, Philosophical Theology, TESOL and many more.

The university is ranked 96 in QS rankings and 152nd in the world.