What Are Low-Residency Master’s Programs?

by Ana Felce

If you’re thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, there are several different program formats to consider—from fully online programs to on-campus options to low-residency master’s programs. There are many reasons to consider a low-residency master’s program for your graduate studies. The combination of online coursework and the ability to interact with professors and fellow classmates in-person provides you the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds. Here’s what you need to consider about these educational opportunities, and how they can help you achieve your personal academic goals.

A Graduate Education On Your Schedule

Low-residency master’s programs include short residential periods on campus, somewhere between a weekend or a few weeks. Apart from these brief periods at the university, the remainder of the program involves online study. This means you can get an excellent education at some of the country’s best universities without having to make the commitment to move to a new city or drastically change your lifestyle.

When Laura Tabbut found her career shifting toward art-making, she sought a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program that would add a new dimension and creative knowledge to her existing master’s degree in English. Based in Illinois and already working as an art teacher, Tabbut needed a graduate program that would fit her schedule. She ultimately chose Azusa Pacific University, as it offered the versatility she required and promised the education she desired.

“The low-residency format provides incredible flexibility, and it meant I didn’t have to give up my teaching job; plus Azusa Pacific University’s Christian influence struck just the right balance for me,” Tabbut says.

For students like Tabbut who are already working full-time jobs, there are clear benefits to earning a master’s degree online. Students can choose when to study (in the mornings or at night, during the week or over the weekend), maintain their normal lives at home, and keep their current jobs.

Low-residency master’s programs go a step further to offer an in-person element, which provides individuals something that regular online programs don’t. Students get to meet their classmates face-to-face and have the opportunity to interact with their professors. For example, students enrolled in a low-residency program at APU have the chance to come to Los Angeles and sample university life without completely uprooting their daily lives back home. This can provide a more holistic educational experience and help students feel directly connected to the campus and curriculum.

Low-Residency Master’s Programs at APU

At Azusa Pacific University, students can choose to pursue a low-residency master’s degree in a number of different fields. In addition to the MFA program, other options include:

Each program offers the flexibility to pursue your goals while studying on your own schedule. Best of all, students get the opportunity to study in the L.A. area (or Sacramento for the MPH) for short periods, where they can network with classmates and professors as well as experience all that these cities have to offer.

Interested in learning more about the graduate programs available at APU? Explore the school’s list of master’s and doctoral degrees, credentials, and certificates.