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What Are the Pros and Cons of an Online Geology Degree?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Sometimes it is more feasible to pursue an online geology degree rather than a degree from a brick and mortar educational institution. While this is certainly a convenient way to earn a college degree, there are several disadvantages to earning an online geology degree rather than one from an onsite college. The versatility of the online program is sometimes complicated by the need for the student to do more self-directed learning; this means he or she will have less direct contact with an instructor, as well as with fellow students.

Another distinct disadvantage to the online geology degree program is the student's inability to take advantage of a college's resources. Earth sciences often require the student to take part in laboratory experiments or studies, and if the student chooses an online geology degree program, he or she may not have access to the proper equipment or facilities. Some online programs will still require the student to travel to an on-site location to complete certain degree requirements, so it is important for the student to take note of such requirements before enrolling in the program.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Of course, sometimes the advantages of an online school outweigh the disadvantages. An online geology degree will allow the student to complete course material at his or her own pace, which is convenient if the student has a full work or family schedule. The student may also have access to visual learning aids through online classrooms that other students who attend regular classes may not have access to. It is also possible for the online student to save money in several ways; the online student does not need to move to a different area to attend classes, and he or she may not need to buy as many learning materials such as books, as many of the materials will be available online.

Choosing an online geology degree can sometimes be difficult, as not all online programs are of the same quality. For-profit colleges sometimes offer these degrees, and they may or may not be accredited institutions that are offering high-quality educations. The online student will therefore need to do a fair amount of research into various online colleges before choosing one. It is best to choose an online college that is associated with a traditional college, and it is also important to choose a school that has a reputable geology program. Do some research into the resumes of the various instructors to get a sense of who will be teaching the coursework.

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