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Last updated on August 29th, 2023.

As technology continues to evolve, so too do the ways that people study and learn. Higher education in the 21st century has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of online degrees from prestigious universities. Take, for instance, the University of Washington, which offers online degree programs through its Professional & Continuing Education center and select schools in the university system.

There are nearly 20 online degree programs currently offered at the University of Washington, but the top 3 of particular note are:

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences
  2. Master of Science degrees in Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
  3. Master of Business Administration

Earning an online degree from an esteemed institution like the University of Washington is a game-changing opportunity for working professionals and people whose life obligations have, until recently, hampered their academic endeavors. Read on to learn more about the top 3 University of Washington online degree programs, particularly if a career in the corporate world or education is in the cards.

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Does the University of Washington Have an Online Program?

According to their site, the University of Washington was “founded in 1861” and “is a nationally-ranked public university and preeminent research institution with its main campus in Seattle, Washington, and satellite campuses in Tacoma and Bothell.” Conferring over 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees each year, the University of Washington serves as a vibrant academic hub for over 54,000 students each year.

In keeping pace with advancements in the digital space, the University of Washington has a growing and dynamic portfolio of online degree programs which afford students from all walks of life the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree entirely online. The online degrees offered by the University of Washington encompass fields of study ranging from the humanities to the sciences, including:

  • Childhood and family studies
  • Education
  • Science and technology

There are both undergraduate and graduate degree programs available for students seeking to complete their bachelor’s requirements or for those whose academic endeavors include the pursuit of an advanced degree.

Is the University of Washington Online Legit?

In recent years, the University of Washington has consistently ranked among the top five public universities in the nation and one of the top institutions of higher learning overall. The recognition and respect that the University of Washington has garnered for its traditional (in-person) academic programs are also carrying over to its online degree programs.

A number of the online degrees offered by the University of Washington are nationally recognized as being among the top in the nation, including:

  • Master of Education in Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – recipient of “Best ABA Curriculum” distinction and recognized as the #2 ABA online degree program in the nation
  • Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences (ISS) – ranked as the second-best online program in the country
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) – the online MBA program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business has been ranked as the nation’s 10th-best

All online degree programs offered by the University of Washington have full accreditation and feature the same quality of instruction and level of support services as those offered to in-person students.

About the University of Washington Online

The majority of the University of Washington’s online degree programs are administered by its Continuum College, which oversees a number of the university’s educational and outreach initiatives. It is through the Continuum College’s Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) arm that online degree programs are offered to working professionals and students who are unable to attend in-person classes.

Certain online degrees at the University of Washington are overseen by specific schools or departments within the university system, such as the online MBA program through the Foster School of Business or the online Master of Science degrees conferred by the Engineering Department.

Getting More Info About the University of Washington Online

As far as online degrees that can be earned through the University of Washington’s PCE, there are currently two bachelor’s and 15 master’s programs to choose from:

• Early Care & Education• Aerospace Engineering
• Integrated Social Sciences• M. Ed. Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
• Infrastructure Planning & Management
• Library & Information Science
• Pharmaceutical Engineering
• M.S. Civil Engineering – Construction Engineering
• M.S. Civil Engineering – Energy Infrastructure
• M.S. Computation Finance & Risk Management
• M.S. Computational Linguistics
• M.S. Construction Management
• M.S. Mechanical Engineering
• Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics
• Sustainable Transportation
• M.S. Applied & Computational Mathematics
• M.S. Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Technologies

Within the PCE, each online degree program has its own unique admission and application requirements as well as tuition costs. A good place to start is the PCE’s homepage to learn more about the University of Washington’s online offerings.

Students who are interested in the University of Washington’s online MBA program should contact the Foster School of Business to learn more about the application process and admission standards.

The Top 3 University of Washington Online Degree Programs

What the University of Washington’s online degree program offerings may lack in terms of volume or breadth, they more than make up for through depth and quality of education. There are only two online bachelor’s degrees compared to over 15 online master’s degree programs, which skews heavily toward graduate studies.

As it currently stands, the University of Washington may be more appealing to candidates seeking advanced online degrees. However, those who are interested in undergraduate studies in the fields of early education or social sciences should consider giving it a closer look.

Here are the top 3 University of Washington online degree programs, starting with one of the top-ranked online B.A. programs in the nation.

1. Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences

In 2014, the University of Washington’s College of Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with the university’s PCE center, announced its second-ever online-only bachelor’s degree program (the first was a B.A. in Early Childhood & Family Studies) in the field of Integrated Social Sciences (ISS).

Since its inception, the University of Washington’s online ISS degree program has not only been popular with students (an estimated one million people in Washington state alone have two or more years of college completed but have fallen short of earning their diploma). Even so, it has also garnered national recognition as the second-best online degree program nationwide in the field of social sciences.

Applicants to this online degree completion program are required to have 75 transferable credits completed, but upon graduation, they will earn a fully accredited bachelor’s degree from one of the West Coast’s oldest universities. Here are key features of this program that every applicant should know:

  • Courses are taught by regular University of Washington faculty members
  • ISS students can access upper-level courses comprising a vast range of social science disciplines
  • Aside from five core ISS courses, students are exposed to an expansive and enriching curriculum by being required to take eight courses in five out of seven areas of focused study
  • This program can be completed in 1-2 years by full-time students and within 3-4 years by part-time students

Information regarding tuition for this 100% online degree program and available financial aid can be found here.

2. Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Not to be outdone, the University of Washington’s nationally ranked online Master of Science program offered through its Mechanical Engineering department demonstrates that the university’s online degree programs extend into hard sciences as well as the humanities. And with its #6 national ranking, the M.S. in Mechanical Engineering is a highly regarded online degree program with few peers.

There are two exclusively online master’s programs in the field of engineering offered at the University of Washington:

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)
  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)

Both degrees can be earned through 100% online learning, and they are designed with working industry professionals in mind. Based on typical course loads of one to two classes per quarter, online students can expect to earn their Master of Science degree within three to four years.

Other program features include:

  • Online students have access to the exact same educational content as in-person students (lectures are either live-streamed or available in digital format)
  • All assignments and exams can be completed 100% remotely
  • All MSME and MSE courses are taught by regular faculty in the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics departments

Tuition for these online programs is assessed per credit of instruction, and it is worth noting that the per-credit costs (and thus total tuition) are significantly higher for online students than those paid by in-person students.

3. Master of Business Administration

Of all the online degrees that can be earned at the University of Washington, perhaps the one that may be considered the most prestigious and potentially life-changing is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the esteemed University of Washington Foster School of Business.

This top-ten online program operates under a hybrid instructional model in the sense that 95% of the curriculum is online and 5% comprises indispensable (and mandatory) in-person activities that include:

  • 3 to 5 days per quarter are spent with members of the same cohort
  • Interactive activities in a classroom setting
  • Networking and socializing events
  • Immersive workshops geared toward professional development
  • Attending 2 to 3 in-person classes per day
  • Catered meals with classmates

Aside from the quarterly compulsory in-person activities, the hybrid MBA program at the University of Washington features synchronous and asynchronous instruction:

  • Synchronous instruction comprises real-time events, including live lectures along with live Q&A sessions with instructors and classmates
  • A wealth of asynchronous instructional resources includes videos on demand, case studies, and online discussions that can be accessed at any time and afford tremendous flexibility for hybrid MBA students

Unlike most of the other online degree programs at the University of Washington, which are structured for either full-time or part-time students and allow for a great degree of flexibility as far as the time for completion, the hybrid MBA at the Foster School of Business is a highly regimented two-year program. At its heart is the rigorous but innovative curriculum that sets this online MBA program apart:

  • Evidence-based challenges encourage students to sharpen problem-solving techniques by applying concepts learned in the (virtual) classroom to real-life scenarios
  • Courses emphasize the development of team management and leadership skills
  • 62 total credits (52 credits from core courses and 10 credits from hybrid-only electives) are required to earn this MBA degree
  • This hybrid program adheres to a lockstep teaching method by which the entire cohort is maintained at the same instructional pace despite the significant amount of independent study that is involved

Although an online MBA from the prestigious Foster School of Business can pay untold dividends for successful graduates, it does represent a sizable investment of time and money.

If you are interested, here is an article about best business administration degrees online.

Final Thoughts

For many people, life can sometimes disrupt plans to attend college and earn a degree. Fortunately, the nation’s top universities are expanding their presence in the digital space to offer fully accredited online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Case in point, the University of Washington’s growing portfolio of nationally recognized online degree programs confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dynamic fields of study ranging from education to engineering to business, and the opportunities that they unlock for graduates are limitless.

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