Fairfield, CT - As nationwide data continues to show a steady increase in the popularity of post-graduate level online education, Fairfield University has taken significant strides to not only grow the University’s number of online programs, but to more than double their enrollment within the past twelve months.
Since 2020, the University has launched 25 online master’s degree programs and graduate certificates in a variety of fields and professional concentrations, while successfully increasing enrollment in the past year. Included in this rapidly expanding portfolio are the University’s two newest online degree programs in business administration (MBA) and public health (MPH), as well as its fully online master’s programs in cybersecurity, interior design, and public administration, which launched late last spring.
This record-breaking growth is a part of Fairfield’s long-range strategic goal to reach broader audiences using ever more innovative methods and technology. This focus is fueled by the recognition that online learning — particularly at the post-graduate level — is fast becoming the most desirable educational option for professionals who are seeking to advance their careers, or prepare to enter a new field.
“Fairfield’s online and hybrid graduate programs offer working professionals the ability to engage in academically rigorous experiences and develop skills that take their career to the next level without having to leave their current job,” said Robert Schnieders, the University’s newly appointed vice president of online strategy and innovation. “We’re in a low unemployment labor environment right now, so students have the ability to increase their skills and readiness while continuing to maximize their current compensation. Whether it's a full master’s program or one of our stackable certificates, professionals have the opportunity to broaden and deepen their qualifications.”
In addition to growing the University’s online enrollment and academic offerings, Fairfield has also prioritized the expansion of its online learning support services to ensure remote learners have the tools they need to succeed both professionally and academically. All online classes are developed and taught by the same expert faculty members that teach the University’s on-campus programs, and are designed to uphold Fairfield’s overarching mission to educate “the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.” Students are given access to an array of state-of-the-art digital learning platforms, 24/7 online tech support, a team of student success coaches, mental health initiatives like tele-therapy, and a Career Center that offers professional development, career readiness counseling, and recruitment opportunities.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on online programs with over 40 universities in my career, and what makes Fairfield’s programs stand-out, is that they are truly aligned with the University’s mission and values,” Schnieders said. “Each graduate program stresses the care for — and education of — the whole person, and offers extensive intellectual engagement and reflection for students with one another and with the faculty. The curricula are constantly being updated to be at the forefront of the practice and boast outstanding relationships with national companies and non-profit organizations that allow our students to network and engage in applied research.”
While the University plans to continue evolving its current online programs in addition to developing new ones, Schnieders' main strategic focus over the next couple years will be furthering their reach and impact.
“Our online programs advance the University’s strategic objectives by increasing scale, facilitating innovation, and diversifying our learner base, both in terms of geography, as well as continuing to serve diverse audiences,” Schnieders said. “In the next two to five years, we expect to see students welcome the flexibility to engage in person, online, or in hybrid formats, and plan to increase the opportunities for online students to participate in optional residencies on campus to increase interaction amongst all students and faculty.”
To learn more about Fairfield’s online graduate programs, visit Fairfield.edu/Online.