Types of courses

An online student looking at computer with classmates on the screen.

The type of courses you take will depend on your student status and degree plan. It also may affect your schedule and how you interact with your instructors.

Whether you are a current or prospective student, this is your home base for information about every one of the four world-class campuses that form the foundation of Missouri Online. Learn more about the future-transforming experience you can expect at the campus that fits you best. Select a university above to get started.

Before you begin

All of Mizzou's online courses fall into one of two categories: semester-based or self-paced. 

Most courses are offered as semester-based courses available on Canvas. Many of our self-paced options are at the undergraduate level and help on-campus students fulfill degree requirements, but there also are options for graduate and nondegree-seeking students.

Note: Whichever course you enroll in, you are responsible for making sure you’ve taken any prerequisites ahead of time. 

Semester-based courses

A semester-based course will be a little closer to a more traditional experience. The start and end dates will align with the regular 16-week or 8-week semester. As with other online courses, you may need to take a proctored exam, but you also are expected to take online quizzes and exams. 

An added bonus is more structure and interaction with your peers. Instead of going at your own pace, your instructor will provide weekly assignments, course work, quizzes and exams. Throughout this time, you also can engage with your instructor and peers via a discussion board. 

Semester-based courses are either asynchronous, meaning you can log on anytime to participate, or synchronous, meaning you are required to log on at a specified time. 

Next steps for semester-based courses

Enroll in a course

Self-paced courses

Mizzou provides two categories of self-paced courses, one that can be started independently of the academic calendar and one that is tied to the semester schedule. 

Self-paced 6-month max to finish

This course type offers the most flexibility. Enroll at almost any time, and then you can finish the course in as little as 6 weeks from the date you submit your first lesson or take up to 6 months to finish. With a self-paced 6-month max to finish course, you have the option to select a start date. If none is selected, the default is the day you enroll.

In this scenario, you will enjoy the independence of working at your own pace, while still receiving instructor feedback. Keep in mind that, if the self-paced course you choose is set to expire after your deadlines for graduation, certification, financial aid, NCAA requirements or any other personal deadline, you are responsible for completing that course before the deadline.

To give yourself breathing room to meet a deadline, plan to complete all your work, including examinations, at least 3 weeks before you need to have your report of credit. If you have any other questions about scheduling, talk to your academic adviser or email selfpaced@missouri.edu.

If you are concerned that a self-paced 6-month max to finish course might not help you meet your deadlines, consider taking a self-paced 16-week course, which is synced up to a regular semester schedule.

Self-paced 16-week courses

As with self-paced 6-month max to finish courses, self-paced 16-week session courses provide both flexibility and independence from having to meet at a specific time and place. Your start date and end dates, however, are the same as those of the regular 16-week session. 

An advantage of these courses is the extended enrollment period, but you still must finish the course by the session end date. Therefore, these courses may be best for those who need to finish their course work within a semester time frame.

Another advantage is the flexibility within the 16-week time frame. There are typically no set due dates for assignments and exams, but you may benefit from the checkpoints for completion of assignments and exams, which can help keep you on track.

Next steps for self-paced courses

Enroll in a self-paced course

Before you begin

All online classes offered by UMSL are semester-based and follow the on-campus schedule (8-week/16-week courses in the fall and spring semesters, 4-week/8-week/12-week courses in the summer semester, and a 2-week course option in the winter). 

Course format

Semester-based courses are either asynchronous, meaning you can log on anytime to participate, or synchronous, meaning you are required to log on at a specified time. A student will need to carefully decide what option works best for them:

  • Many students select asynchronous courses because they can easily fit them into their already busy lives without having to carve out a specific time to be present for a course each week. 
  • Synchronous courses offer more structure and interaction with your peers. Instead of going at your own pace, your instructor will provide weekly assignments, course work, quizzes and exams. Throughout this time, you also can engage with your instructor and peers via a discussion board. 

For both asynchronous and synchronous courses, you may need to take a proctored exam, but you also are expected to take online quizzes and exams. 

Next steps for semester-based courses

Enroll in a course

Before you begin

All online classes offered by Missouri S&T are semester-based and follow the on-campus schedule (16-week spring and fall semesters and 4-week / 8-week summer sessions). 

Semester-based courses

Semester-based courses are either asynchronous, meaning you can log on anytime to participate, or synchronous, meaning you are required to log on at a specified time. 

As with other online courses, you may need to take a proctored exam, but you also are expected to take online quizzes and exams. 

An added bonus is more structure and interaction with your peers. Instead of going at your own pace, your instructor will provide weekly assignments, course work, quizzes and exams. Throughout this time, you also can engage with your instructor and peers via a discussion board. 

Next steps for semester-based courses

Enroll in a course

Before you begin

All online classes offered by UMKC are semester-based and follow the on-campus schedule (8-week / 16-week spring and fall semesters and 8-week summer session). 

Semester-based courses

Semester-based courses are either asynchronous, meaning you can log on anytime to participate, or synchronous, meaning you are required to log on at a specified time. 

As with other online courses, you may need to take a proctored exam, but you also are expected to take online quizzes and exams. 

An added bonus is more structure and interaction with your peers. Instead of going at your own pace, your instructor will provide weekly assignments, course work, quizzes and exams. Throughout this time, you also can engage with your instructor and peers via a discussion board. 

Next steps for semester-based courses

Enroll in a course