What is a Low Residency Master’s Program?

A low-residency master’s program is a master’s course that involves a residential stay limited to no more than a relatively small number of weeks. Under some circumstances, the residential term of the master’s program might be no longer than just a single weekend. The duration of residency in the program is interspersed with distance-based education in order to complete it.

Low-residency program enrollment has been on the rise in recent years, correlated with the higher rate of enrollment in various online degree programs across the board. Prospective degree-holders in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia have all adopted a number of low-residency program options in various content areas.

Program Layout

In a number of different personal circumstances, one of the biggest obstacles to master’s program is the need to leave one’s community when doing so just isn’t feasible for any number of reasons. Ultimately, the low residency program is built to allow those within it to complete their master’s program without needing to change communities.

In terms of program length, low-residency program structures generally require about one or two weeks of residential living every six months. During the residential period, program participants will be largely occupied with crafting their own study plans and seminars outside of the lectures that they attend.

The program participants’ tasks of crafting seminars and study plans will oftentimes be supplemented by a mentor’s advisement. In addition to crafting aspects of the program, students will also participate in workshops and attend readings.

Outside of the period of time that program participants reside on-site, their main directive will be to conduct independent studies. Though not physically fixed on the campus itself, participants will be expected to keep their structure their education in a self-driven and productive manner.

While independent studies outside of the program’s residential duration offer students a great deal of flexibility in how to digest educational content, it also invites potential for some to fall off-track without guidance – to control for this risk, mentors are put in place to keep things in check. In order to survey how participants’ studies are coming along during their non-residency studies, they will be assigned a supervisory mentor.

Designated mentors are able to continually survey the progress of their students by examining special progress packets that are sent to them periodically. By examining the packets that off-site program residents send to them on a regular basis, mentors can make sure that said participants aren’t diverging from the core program’s direction (or falling behind) too dramatically.

Subjects And Institutions

Colleges that give the option of low-residency programs include Ashland University, Bastyr University US in Midwifery, Bennington College, Boston Architectural College, Goddard College, Lesley University, New England College and more.

Low-residency masters programs can be found in a wide variety of different subjects such as interdisciplinary arts, industrialized arts, individualized studies, education, psychology, counseling, health arts, sustainability, creative nonfiction and more. To date, creative writing is one of the most popularly sought-out areas of focus that low residency master’s programs are sought out for.

See also: Top 10 Cheap Online Master’s in English and Creative Writing Degree Programs