Frequently Asked Questions - Distance Learning FAQs

No. Distance students can apply to be a nondegree graduate student and upon admissions enroll in a distance optics class. Up to six units can be completed in nondegree status and applied toward the Professional Graduate Certificate program once admitted. Up to 15 units can be completed in nondegree status and applied toward an M.S. or Ph.D. degree program once admitted.

Apply to the University of Arizona Graduate College. It is a quick and easy process; no additional documents such as transcripts or letters of recommendation are required. You will receive an email from Graduate College Admissions once your nondegree admissions is completed.

Degree program application requirements and instructions are available on our Admissions pages.

The distance learning program is administered via Arizona Online. Students are required to register for online courses through the UAccess Student Center. Step by step instructions are available at https://registrar.arizona.edu/records-enrollment/enrollment/how-register-classes.

No. Students admitted to a College of Optical Sciences degree program can take distance courses or on-campus courses, whichever best fit their lifestyle. You will be awarded the same degree as all other graduate students admitted to the Graduate Certificate, M.S. or Ph.D. programs.
 

You'll find our application deadlines on the Graduate Admissions page. We strive to be flexible about these deadlines and will often consider applications which arrive late. It is to your advantage to submit your application on time; however, we will accept late applications for consideration.

All international students applying to an Optical Sciences graduate program must submit English proficiency test scores (TOEFL or IELTS). This includes students applying to the Professional Graduate Certificate, M.S. or Ph.D. programs, and includes students applying to the online and on campus programs. For additional information regarding English proficiency requirements including exemptions click here.

Tuition for the College of Optical Sciences distance learning courses is now a charge of $1,330 per unit for all students in an optical sciences graduate program, regardless of residency. An additional Arizona Financial Aid Trust Fee (AFAT), is required by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). The AFAT fee is $25.25 for 1-6 units or $50.50 for 7 or more units.

Approximately 25 optics classes are offered by distance each fall and spring semester. You can view the full list of distance learning courses.

Yes, the prerequisites — while strongly recommended — are not required and nothing in the system prevents you from enrolling. You may have industry or previous course work to satisfy the prerequisite. You can always communicate with the professor about your experience and background.

As in any course, the amount of time actually invested depends on the student and varies on a course-by-course basis. The same faculty teach both distance and on-campus classes; the courses are designed to teach the same material and require the same amount of student commitments. There may be some additional time for homework submissions and completion of exams.

We often have distance students visit OSC and tour our building, but it is not required. The Graduate Certificate program requirements can be completed entirely by distance with no campus visit. Depending on lab experience, it may be possible to complete the M.S. degree entirely by distance with only one trip to campus to complete your final oral exam.

No. All admitted international students must maintain student health insurance. International students completing distance must submit a waiver form to Campus Health waiving the requirement. This must be done each fall and spring semester in which the student enrolls for a distance class. Students who fail to submit this form will automatically be assessed student health insurance charges on their bursar account. In addition, student must prove they will not be in the U.S. during this time.

No. Students talk to and develop rapport with instructors and even fellow classmates through email, D2L discussion boards, chatrooms and telephone calls. You will also communicate with your teaching assistant. Some courses have live recitation sessions that encourage your participation. You will also be given the choice to share your email address with other distance students that are taking the same course.

The lectures will be available electronically, and are posted to the U of A, D2L web site. You will need a UA Net ID to access the D2L site. The lectures are posted to the Web immediately after they are taught, and will be available to view anytime throughout the entire semester.  

Distance classes run the full length of the semester, same as on-campus classes. Additional time is sometimes granted for coordinating of final exams and submissions of all course material.

It depends on the course. Sometimes distance students give the presentation to peers, who return an evaluation form to the professor. Some use Windows Live and give their presentation as a PowerPoint. In certain circumstances a distance student is assigned to a group of on-campus students and will be responsible for research instead of giving a presentation.

Through email and telephone communication, distance students will communicate with the graduate student academic adviser.

After you have enrolled in a distance learning course and about a week prior to the start of the semester, you will be sent an email welcoming you to the distance learning program. The email will include all the information you need to complete your course.

You are responsible for purchasing any textbooks and class notes the professor requires for the course. The professor will let you know where to purchase notes should that be a requirement. Textbooks can be purchased through a variety of sources, including the UA BookStore.

Some courses do require special software, but you will be given access and will not have to purchase software.

After your registration is complete and before classes begin, you will receive an email with detailed information about homework submission.

Students need to identify a proctor for exams. The exams will be emailed to the proctor with all instructions included. The exam proctor can be an HR person, a supervisor or a local librarian, but the proctor may not be a co-worker or subordinate.

The M.S. in Optical Sciences degree program is limited to six years. It takes approximately two years to obtain a master's degree if you take classes full-time. If you take one course a semester, it is going to take longer. If you have previous graduate level course approved to count toward your M.S. degree, the actual start date begins with the semester of approved transfer courses. If you near the six-year time limit, you can submit a petition for an extension of time to complete your degree. Speak with the graduate academic advisor for more information and details.

Distance students are encouraged to review the faculty areas of research expertise and propose a topic to a particular faculty member.