What Are the Pros and Cons to a Traditional vs. an Online Master’s Degree in Psychology?

Just as is the case with so many other things in today’s world, the computer, especially with the advent of the Internet, has revolutionized education. It used to be that if a particular degree was not offered by a brick and mortar institution near you, you either had to move close to one that did or satisfy yourself with the old correspondence route, and those have always been of questionable value. And this doesn’t even begin to take into consideration those such as the home-bound and others unable, or unwilling, to take traditional educational routes.

Fortunately, with the growth of the Internet, as well as the growing acceptance of online education as a feasible alternative to brick and mortar colleges and universities, earning a master’s degree in psychology or any other degree for that matter doesn’t carry with it near the stigma as it has in the past. In fact, several studies have confirmed that earning a degree online as opposed to a traditional educational setting is very comparable.

Are there Any Differences?

Most educators who have worked on studies in the difference between online and tradition setting education point to literally one big difference between the two methods: the comfort level that some students might or might not have with the more impersonal approach of an online education. Face it: some people are just not comfortable with using a computer at all, much less with an environment such as education where they might be used to interacting on a face to face level with the instructor and other students.

Some of those who are attempting to use online methods of earning their master’s degree in psychology might be uncomfortable with the technological interfaces such as the screen, the methodology of asking questions of the instructor, and other parts of the environment that make the experience “online” versus a traditional classroom setting.

Who Cares, Indeed?It is interesting, although not completely surprising, that younger students are more comfortable with the online setting than students who are older, although it is also worthy of note that the difference in acceptance between these two groups is painfully small. For those who are considering earning a master’s degree in psychology there is a significant portion of respondents who quibble with the fact that as a “social” science there must be some kinds of problems with earning such a degree online in such an “unsocial” manner. Despite these concerns, however, no studies have determined that there are any differences in the results of earning a degree in psychology via online methods versus any other by the same method.

The True Online Differences

One can only imagine that as the years pass the technology that will be introduced to increase the quality of online educations will only improve. True, several studies in other fields have found that companies that use virtual meetings and other such “impersonal” methods of meeting with workers and clients do suffer in terms of lost revenues, but no studies have been conducted that shows an actual loss in the quality of education being presents in an online environment. As a result, most experts agree that the field will only grow and progress with time.