Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update:
  • The University of Lincoln would like to reassure you that all of our online Masters programmes are continuing as normal and on schedule.
  • The programmes are taught and studied entirely online, which means that they can be studied and completed from home, without any disruption to teaching provision or learning activities.
  • We are committed to ensuring that students are not disadvantaged in their studies by issues caused directly or indirectly by Covid-19 and we will be providing additional support to affected students wherever necessary.
  • Please contact us on +44 (0) 1522 254 022 or [email protected] if you have any questions.
Happy female student on her graduation day at home. Concept of studying online

Online Master’s degrees: everything you need to know

Online postgraduate study in the United Kingdom is on the rise by almost every metric imaginable:

  • More universities are offering online programmes.
  • There are a growing number of distance-learning programmes available. 
  • The number of students enrolling in online master’s programmes is also on the rise.

This evolution in postgraduate study was made possible by advancements in technology, but it was made popular during the COVID-19 pandemic – which forced many learners to carry out their studies online – and this popularity has continued.

It’s easy to understand why. Suddenly, master’s students can pursue world-class higher education in high-demand fields – such as business and management, computer science, data analytics, data science, cyber security, or artificial intelligence – from anywhere, and with greater flexibility than they’d typically have with an on-campus programme.

According to analysis from education consultancy Neil Mosley Consulting, about one-third of UK-based postgraduate students in 2021/22’s academic year were studying by distance learning. 

“As of the 2021/22’s academic year there were approximately 170,000 online distance learning PGT students. This figure combines UK-based students studying via distance learning and international students studying via distance, flexible or distributed learning,” a 2023 article states. “There has been growth in student numbers year-on-year and there are over 50,000 more online PGT students than there were in 2017/18.”

The benefits of studying a master’s degree online

As high-quality alternatives to traditional, on-campus courses, online master’s degrees are making postgraduate education more accessible to a broader range of learners.

This is because they offer advantages such as:

  • Flexibility. One of the most significant advantages of online learning is flexibility. Students can choose between full-time or part-time online study, allowing them to balance their education with work, family, or other commitments. There are also typically various start dates throughout the year, rather than just the traditional September start dates.
  • Studies at the student’s own pace. Online courses often allow students to progress at their own pace. While there may be deadlines for assignments and exams, the absence of a fixed schedule means students can choose when and where they study, and better accommodate their own learning styles.
  • Accessibility. Online master’s degrees have the power to break down geographical barriers, making it possible for international students to access postgraduate education from renowned UK institutions without having to relocate. This inclusivity enhances the diversity of the student community and provides unique perspectives in virtual learning environments.
  • Cost savings. Some online postgraduate degrees offer lower tuition fees compared to their on-campus counterparts. But even where this isn’t the case, online learning allows students to save on commuting costs, student housing, and other on-campus student expenses.
  • Interactive learning. Many online master’s courses are designed to be highly interactive. Through virtual learning environments, students can engage in discussions, group projects, and forums, fostering a sense of community and collaboration among students.
  • Professional development. Online degrees are an excellent option for people who want to enhance their skills and knowledge for their career advancement – all without taking a break from their existing work or personal commitments. 

How online master’s degrees are delivered

Online master’s degrees are delivered through a combination of innovative teaching methods, adaptations, and technologies. 

This includes:

  • Virtual learning environments. Virtual learning environments are central to the online learning experience. They are digital platforms where students can access course materials and assignments, and communicate with academic staff and fellow students. Some even include elements of social media. Common examples of virtual learning environments include Moodle, Blackboard, and Canvas.
  • Modules. Much like traditional master’s programmes, online master’s degrees in the UK are structured into traditional programme modules, each focusing on specific topics or subjects. These modules can include a mix of video lectures and seminars, tutorials, assigned reading materials, exams, and assignments. 
  • Blending learning options. Some online master’s degrees incorporate elements of blended learning, where students have the option to attend on-campus sessions or workshops to enhance their learning experience with face-to-face interactions.
  • Digital resources. Online students have access to an extensive range of digital resources, including e-books, academic journals, and multimedia materials, all through their institution’s digital library. In many cases, students will also have access to the university’s on-campus library if they wish to attend campus for their research.

The application process for online master’s programmes

Just as a traditional degree programme will have specific entry requirements, so too does admission onto an online master’s degree.

These requirements will vary by institution and programme, but may include:

  • A relevant undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor’s degree.
  • Work experience in a related field.
  • Academic or professional references to support the application.
  • A personal statement outlining the applicant’s motivations, goals, and suitability for the programme.
  • Demonstrable English proficiency. For international students, this may include a minimum IELTS or TOEFL score.
  • In some cases, applicants may be invited for an interview as part of the programme selection process.

Check the institution’s website or contact its admissions team to learn the exact requirements for a programme of interest. Many universities also host open days – including virtual events – to allow prospective students to ask questions about master’s study and distance-learning courses.

Earn your Master’s degree online with the University of Lincoln

Take your career to the next level with the 100% online Master’s programmes from the University of Lincoln. These flexible degrees have been designed to support the career ambitions of ‘can-do’ individuals and develop the talent of the future.

The programmes combine robust academic research with real-world, applied learning that will prepare you for the next stage of your career – and this is all underpinned by an award-winning approach to engaging with employers. These Master’s programmes have also been designed to provide the Lincoln student experience online through a digital platform that facilitates interaction, collaboration, and active learning, enabling an immersive online learning experience.

The suite of online master’s programmes offered by the University of Lincoln includes:

  • MBA Leadership
  • MBA Finance
  • MBA Hospitality Management
  • MSc Management
  • MSc Management with Project Management
  • MSc Management with Marketing
  • MSc Management with Human Resources
  • MSc Management with Supply Chain