September will see the start of the first two online Master of Science programmes at Wageningen University: ‘Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health’ and ‘Plant Breeding’. Students will be able to take these Master’s programmes part-time and will hardly have to visit the campus. Around 35 of the earliest applicants have already been accepted. They can now officially enrol as MSc students at Wageningen University. Registration will remain open until the end of July.
Wageningen University is offering these MSc programmes online so that more people will have the opportunity to obtain a Master’s degree at Wageningen, says Ulrike Wild, director of Open and Online Learning at Wageningen UR. “Not everyone can come to Wageningen for two years to do a programme, perhaps due to work or family commitments. Because this is a modular programme lasting two years, it’s possible to combine it with employment.” Students enrolled in the online MSc will, however, need to come to the Wageningen Campus for a certain period in order to learn the necessary practical skills in a lab, for example, or in order to prepare for their final coursework. The compulsory work placement and thesis are tailored to individual students. In total, the programme can take up to four years to complete.
Existing modules and learning materials have been adapted to suit the online MSc, Wild explains: “Every week, the students receive assignments and study materials such as video clips, e-learning modules and online literature. Students and teachers work on these together: an online platform is available for asking questions and holding discussions. Also, there is feedback on assignments. The students therefore remain intensively involved with the subject and are motivated by this form of collaboration.” The examinations are online, too. To ensure honesty, video recordings are made of both computer screen and examinee during the examination.
The first two distance learning programmes deal with subjects for which there is considerable interest internationally. More than 80 people have already applied and of these, 36 have been admitted so far. They can now officially enrol as students at Wageningen University.
Applications for the two online Master’s programmes that start in September can be made up to the end of July. Wageningen University is meanwhile looking at whether further MSc programmes can be made available online.