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Getting your Master of Science without quitting your job!

Did you ever think about getting back to University to earn your Master of Science? Lifelong learning is essential, especially in a world that is constantly changing.

Then some questions might come up: "But what about my job? Where would I live and how would I be able to pay for this? Okay, there may be some online programmes, but a) how credible are these and b) would I really be motivated to learn all this on my own as self-study?"

Web Science at TH Köln

We designed our Master programme in Web Science so that you would neither have to quit your job nor have to move. It is designed for students, who work full-time and want to pursue their Master of Science degree in part-time.

To make this feasible, the programme is mainly held online, but we start and end each semester with an on-site weekend. During the first weekend, lectures are held and project teams are formed. And as we heard, the students meet in the evenings and exchange experiences and get to know each other. This is also very important as during the semester most of the students will mainly meet online when working together in their projects.

During the semester, every Tuesday and Thursday online sessions for the courses are held in the evenings (19.00 - 22.00 o'clock). Often the students have to prepare some small exercises in advance, read specific literature, or watch online lectures. In that way, the online sessions can be highly interactive, where students e.g. work together in smaller groups on a given task, which is then discussed in class together with the lecturer. This makes it possible for students to apply directly what they learned, engage in discussions (which also supports deeper understanding), and get immediate feedback. In modules which include a project these online sessions are also used to discuss the progress, challenges and opportunities of the project. Individual feedback is very important, so that the students can improve their project constantly throughout the semester. Interactive sessions, working together in groups, engaging in discussions and receiving individual feedback is something that differentiates the Web Science Programme from others online programmes in which students mainly have to study on their own. Self-study may not be that motivating and when there is increased stress at work, it may be very tempting to postpone it. Like the membership in the gym, where you for sure start practicing again next week ;-) . We can see that the students in our programme are highly motivated, work really well together, and help each other.

During the last weekend in each semester, the second on-site meeting is held. Here, the students will have their exams, which can be a written exam or a project presentation. It is always exciting; not only due to the exams, but also to see the final results of the often very interesting projects.

Answering the questions

So what about the "But, ..." questions mentioned at the beginning? I think we addressed these in our programme:

But what about my job? Where would I live and how would I be able to pay for this?

You can keep your job and thus won't loose your income. You wouldn't have to move, because we only have two on-site weekends per semester, so for most students it is feasible to travel for those weekends to Cologne.

Online programmes: How credible are these?

Our programme has be examined by the independent and professional agency AQAS. The accreditation of our Web Science Master programme has been successfully renewed until 2023.

Would I really be motivated to learn all this on my own as self-study?

Although you may have to work on some exercises or read literature on your own, you mostly have meetings together with peers or work in teams, which makes it easier to focus and to stay motivated.

So, what are you waiting for? Apply now :-)

(repost; originally posted on 2017-06-07)

May 2019