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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

The following are "frequently asked questions" for the online degree programs at SMSU.


General FAQs

Q:

Are these programs completely online?

A:

Yes, these programs are available through a completely online option. Admitted students will be able to enroll in courses through an online delivery.

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Q:

Are there set times I have to be online?

A:

Possibly. Online courses are offered as “Completely Online-Asynchronous”, “Completely Online-Synchronous” or “Mostly Online”. Online-Synchronous courses do require students to log in and join courses at specific dates and times. These courses are participating in real-time with classroom counterparts. Mostly Online courses typically have a proctoring exam element, or an optional face-to-face meeting. Students can click on the title of the course in the course schedule to learn more about details of specific courses or contact SMSU for additional information.

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Q:

Will I ever be required to come to the SMSU campus?

A:

No, there are no requirements to come to campus. You may be invited for certain events or activities, but these are recommended and not required.

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Q:

How much will this cost?

A:

SMSU is very affordable. You can find the current rate for online courses at the Undergraduate Tuition Rate web pages.

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Q:

Do I qualify for financial aid?

A:

U.S. Citizens and eligible noncitizens are eligible to apply for Federal Financial Aid through SMSU. Minnesota residents are eligible to apply for State Financial Aid. Admitted, degree-seeking students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This one application completes applications for the Minnesota State Grant and Federal Direct loan funds as well.

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Q:

Are there scholarships available?

A:

SMSU offers many Scholarships that student should review and apply for! In addition, several majors at SMSU have scholarship information on their academic program pages and the SMSU Financial Aid lists scholarship opportunities as well. Students have several resources for scholarships and can ask any of the SMSU contacts for assistance in searching out scholarship information!

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Q:

How long will it take me to complete the program and earn my degree?

A:

Online programs are designed to be self-paced. Financial aid requirements state students need to be ½ time (6 credits) to qualify for aid; however, student can take up to 20 credits per term maximum. Typical course loads are 15-18 credits for full time and the degree can be completed in 4 years. For transfer students, it will depend upon the number of credits transferred.

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Q:

Can I accelerate my online learning?

A:

Somewhat. SMSU is beginning to offer two 8-week courses per semester in contrast to one 16-week course. As we are able to add additional accelerated options, it will allow students to take more courses at a faster pace.

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Q:

Will there be proctored exams?

A:

There may be a few. Some of the math or science courses are still asking for proctored exams so it depends upon the courses that students may take. As technology improves, the need for proctors diminishes so this requirement is decreasing over time.

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Q:

Is there technical support?

A:

Yes! There are options for technical support for SMSU students. The Technology Resource Center (TRC) has Help Desk is available for over 15 hours during the week with shorter hours on weekends & holidays. TRC is available by phone or email and are very responsive and user-friendly. The Minnesota State College & University System also has technical support for students.

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Q:

What type of Internet access is recommended?

A:

You will need Internet service that is capable of streaming video and uploading documents. Desire to Learn (D2L) is the current learning management platform for the online learning courses. Google Chrome is the recommended browser to access D2L.

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Q:

What computer programs will I need?

A:

Microsoft Office such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are required. You should also have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files.

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Q:

What happens if my Internet goes down?

A:

Temporary down times in service should not be an issue. However, if a disruption in a timed or dated quiz or exam happens, students should contact their professors. They can be reached by phone in such situation. Professors should also be contacted immediately if Internet service will be down for an extended period of time.

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Q:

If I have credits from another college or university, how do I transfer them?

A:

Transfer students should have all prior colleges/universities send official transcripts directly to the Office of Admissions at SMSU. The exception is any transfer credit from another Minnesota State College or University. These can be obtained electronically through the MinnState System (excludes the University of Minnesota and all private universities).

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Q:

If I transfer my credits, how will they transfer?

A:

Associate of Art (A.A.) degrees from an accredited college/university will transfer as a whole and will satisfy the general education requirements at SMSU. Other diplomas, certificates, Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees from accredited institutions will be evaluated per any approved articulation agreement or course equivalencies in Transferology.org.

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Q:

Will I have an advisor to help me?

A:

Yes, you will be assigned a faculty advisor to help you plan your degree path that meets with your specific situation and needs. They will help you throughout your educational journey.

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Q:

Is there online tutoring available?

A:

Yes, there are several online tutoring services available to our online learners in areas such as math, science, English and other liberal arts.

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Q:

Will I have access to the Library? Can I request material?

A:

Yes, you will have full access to the McFarland Library, which has a vast array of electronic resources as well as an interlibrary loan option that allows borrowing books and articles not owned by the McFarland Library.

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Q:

Can I add a minor?

A:

With many of our online degrees some minors are available! Talk to your academic advisor to see what minors work with your major and are available through online.

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Q:

Is there career planning and job placement services?

A:

SMSU Career Services has services available to all SMSU students, including students online! You can check out what is available on the Career Services website.

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Q:

Who can I call if I have questions?

A:
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Education FAQs

Q:

What else do I need to know about the classroom placements?

A:

Besides knowing that you will have daytime placement hours practically every semester, students also need to understand the rules established by the licensing board. Students cannot be placed at schools where they are employed or where they currently have children attending. Students must be moved around to a variety of different types of schools, different grade band levels, and different curriculums, etc. This is to provide as broad of an educational experience as possible.

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Q:

Will I ever be required to come to the SMSU campus?

A:

Yes, you will be asked to come to the Marshall campus for 2-days during your "classroom management" course. The placement for this course occurs in classrooms local to the Marshall campus and allows SMSU faculty to observe students teaching abilities.

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Q:

In Elementary Education, are all of the possible endorsements online too?

A:

No, not at this time. If you are interested in the Elementary Education program only the basic Elementary Education with no endorsement or Elementary Education with the Pre-Primary Endorsement (Age 3 – Grade 6) is available completely online.

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Nursing FAQs

Q:

How long will it take me to complete the program and earn my degree?

A:

The SMSU RN to BSN program includes 30 credits (11 courses) in the BSN major. We no longer require statistics as part of the BSN curriculum, and students can set their own pace to complete the 30 credits. Depending upon your transfer credit/degree you may or may not need additional general education courses.

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Q:

Is there Credit for Prior Learning?

A:

Yes! The NCLEX-RN exam is prior learning and students are granted 15 credits of upper division work upon successful completion of this national exam.

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Q:

What about clinical requirements?

A:

There is one clinical course in the SMSU RN to BSN program. Students will spend 75 hours with a nurse in a community/public health type setting near the student’s geographic area. Successful completion of this course & clinical allows students to register for the Minnesota Public Health Registration and be recognized as a public health nurse within the state of Minnesota. Students living outside of the state of Minnesota will need to work with the Nursing Program to identify an approved clinical site near their location. Approvable clinical site locations will depend upon the specific state board of nursing regulations.

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Last Modified: 8/31/20 3:05 PM