Lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and dispute resolution professionals of all types have a new option for getting the training they need to advance in the problem-solving industry. The University of Missouri School of Law is now taking applications for its online master’s in dispute resolution. The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The Law School’s program in dispute resolution has consistently ranked in the top five nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

“The MU School of Law was one of the first U.S. law schools to offer a master of laws focused on dispute resolution,” said Rafael Gely, professor and director of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at Mizzou. “Offering a fully online master of laws in dispute resolution is in-line with the school’s innovative approach to education.”

The new online option offers students flexibility in their schedules as well as future career opportunity. Phillip Blevins, an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey, is looking forward to the program becoming available online this fall.

“With the LLM program coming online, I’m going to be able to virtually take any class I could take in Columbia regardless of where I’m at,” said Blevins. “The program at Mizzou is designed to foster opportunities for growth. I’ve got high ambitions to become a judge or professor one day. This program helps me develop a niche and a specialty that will open doors for me in the future.”

A need for problem-solvers

Modern law practitioners are expected to be results-oriented, peak performers, and the new online master of laws (LLM) in dispute resolution prepares students for just that.

“We have been producing successful negotiators since our center began in 1984,” said Paul Ladehoff, director of the LLM program. “The profession is in high demand and our program prepares graduates to work in many settings, not just the courtroom or boardrooms.”

Problem-solvers, as Ladehoff labels the graduates of his program, are needed in all areas of business, corporate relations and personal interactions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the profession will see a 10 percent employment growth through 2026.

Building a sense of community

Although the program is fully online, it is not isolating — small classes allow students to interact with colleagues in various professional settings. Students also have the opportunity to network with some of the most prolific dispute resolution instructors and scholars in the country.

“Our faculty is unmatched,” said Lyrissa Lidsky, dean of the School of Law. “They are constantly advancing the field of dispute resolution and gaining national recognition for their contributions. I think one of the biggest benefits of our new online program is the direct access to such expert faculty.”

The accessible faculty, the diverse course work and the opportunity to form a community with people across the world were Tojan Rahhal’s top reasons for entering the dispute resolution program at Mizzou. Rahhal, who is the assistant dean for inclusive excellence and strategic initiatives at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, will be transitioning to the online program in the fall due to the flexibility it offers.

“The program has such a diverse array of classes,” said Rahhal. “You get a taste of law; whether you have a law background or not. It makes for interesting discussions.”

Rahhal uses her passions for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and diversity in her current role at the university and thinks the program will add to her skills repertoire in important ways. “My background is unique for this type of program, but a big part of diversity work is communication and dispute resolution,” she said.

Blevins agrees that the program will help students with their current and future endeavors. “I became a lawyer for one reason and one reason only – to help people solve their problems,” he said. “The dispute resolution LLM at Mizzou concentrates on the reason I became an attorney in the first place.”

Two years to complete

The online master of laws in dispute resolution program is 100 percent online: no campus visits are required. Students who take two classes each semester can finish the program in two years. The program is currently accepting applications for the fall semester, with classes beginning in August 2019.

Setting yourself up for career advancement in the engineering industry includes maintaining a technical edge and knowing when to pursue graduate work. The University of Missouri College of Engineering is launching two online master’s degrees to help working professionals edge out their competition in this rapidly changing industry.

Both MS programs – biological engineering and industrial engineering – are fully online. The classes are developed and taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, the same faculty and researchers who are often recognized for their groundbreaking work.

“Our college is dedicated to solving the problems of today — and tomorrow — with our research,” said Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering. “In order to provide our students with the most innovative educational experience that sparks their own discoveries, we need to be at the forefront of the engineering field. I am excited to see what new engineering breakthroughs our distance students will uncover!”

A focus on STEM

The online master of science in biological engineering offers a unique opportunity for professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields to pursue graduate work in engineering. Many other institutions require their master’s students to have completed undergraduate work in engineering specifically. Acknowledging the skills acquired in other STEM subjects, this Mizzou program will admit students from any STEM background.

The biological engineering degree gives career switchers a path to new opportunities in bioengineering. There are approximately 21,300 available jobs for bioengineers nationally according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it’s estimated the field will see a seven percent growth in employment opportunities between 2016 and 2026.

“In a STEM field, your skills are cutting edge for about five years,” said Heather Hunt, associate professor and online program coordinator. “Our students need to be lifelong learners in order to stay current, especially if they are looking to take their career in a new direction.”

Hunt and other faculty members who teach in the program are faculty in the Department of Biomedical, Biological & Chemical Engineering, which is a part of both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. This department offers three undergraduate degrees and four graduate degrees; this interdisciplinary approach also is reflected in the curricular design of the master’s in biological engineering program. This allows students flexibility to pursue their career interests and needs.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The online industrial engineering master of science program is open to all engineering and management disciplines.

“As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a period of time when emerging technological breakthroughs are rapidly creating new challenges as well as opportunities, we are focused on providing an up-to-date education that is relevant and useful for the students’ future work and career,” said Bin Wu, online program director and professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

The industrial engineering master’s is a pathway to potential career advancement in a field that is projected to have seven percent employment growth through 2026.

“The program aims to provide the students with the necessary concepts and tools — such as those in smart industrial and service systems, analytical and simulation techniques, big data analysis and smart devices and energy and environmental management — that will help to put them on a faster career track in the new technological and business environment,” said Wu.

Having established two national-level centers of research and education in the department, “the faculty’s collective expertise provides our students with multidisciplinary skills to take full advantage of the opportunities related to the design, operation and management of the next generation of smart industrial, service and healthcare systems,” said Wu. “Engineers and managers of any discipline can benefit from learning more about industrial engineering concepts and tools in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

Flexibility is key

For many engineering professionals, continuing their education while maintaining a full-time job, and other responsibilities, is difficult. With 100 percent online course work, these new programs are tailored to such professionals looking to get a career boost. By taking two classes each semester, students can complete their master’s in biological engineering or their master’s in industrial engineering in two years. Students are encouraged to try courses in these programs as non-degree-seeking post-baccalaureate students so they can see how online graduate study fits into their schedules.

“Advancements in technology and education have allowed our instructors to give distance students a true Mizzou experience from wherever they live,” said Kim Siegenthaler, Mizzou Online director.

Apply today

Applications for both online engineering master’s programs are now being accepted. Classes begin in August.

Best English graduate programs

For the second consecutive year, the University of Missouri’s online graduate education programs have been named the best in Missouri and ranked 38th nationally by U.S. News & World Report. This represents the top 12 percent of institutions participating in the rankings survey. Currently, there are 22 online master’s programs and eight online graduate certificates offered by the MU College of Education.

“Our alumni and current students consistently acknowledge the career boost they receive from learning with Mizzou’s faculty and global colleagues,” said Kathryn Chval, dean of the College of Education. “Our programs are built on a foundation of student and faculty engagement that promote a network of people, ideas and solutions. It is critical that our academic programs are relevant, influence practice and impact professional lives.”

U.S. News bases their rankings on institution-supplied data evaluating student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and peer reputation among other categories.

“Engaging” is how one recent graduate describes her experience. “The literacy education program engaged my curiosity,” said Beth Diederich, a 2018 online master’s of education graduate who earned her degree from Santiago, Chile. “I have gained confidence as an educator and I am excited to apply this knowledge to my students.”

More than 1,500 students are enrolled in online graduate programs in the College of Education annually.

Best bachelor's programs

Online bachelor’s program recognition

Mizzou’s online bachelor’s programs’ ranking climbed 24 positions from last year to 114th, coming in among the top third of ranked schools. Of the 100-plus online programs offered by the University of Missouri, 11 are bachelor’s programs. Subjects include business, hospitality management, public health, health professions, education, nursing and general studies.

“Mizzou offers the second most online programs in both the SEC and among public AAU institutions,” said Spain. “Our offerings are growing as well as enrollment. Students everywhere want a Mizzou degree on their resumé.”

Mizzou’s distance student enrollment has grown for five consecutive fall terms and grew 24 percent in the last year alone.

Best for veterans

Online AND veteran friendly

U.S. News also ranks online programs they deem “Best for Veterans.” Mizzou’s online graduate education programs earned this 2019 distinction due to a high overall ranking and the university’s focus on veteran services. Nearly 200 veterans were enrolled in online programs at Mizzou last year.

“MU was one of the first schools in the nation to create a full-service resource center to help veterans transition from the military to the classroom,” said Robert Ross, director of the MU Veterans Center. “Whether they are students on-campus or online, or a family member of a veteran, we are here to help.”

MU offers a 10 percent tuition award on online degree and certificate programs for veterans, active duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserve. Spouses and dependents also are eligible for the tuition award.

Online military students also have the benefit of a dedicated Military and Veteran Specialist who can discuss the online programs and connect them with resources.


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The nation’s first school of journalism continues to evolve with the rapidly changing journalism and strategic communication industry. The University of Missouri School of Journalism is now offering an online graduate certificate in interactive media — 100 percent online.

The online graduate certificate in interactive media is designed for journalism and communications professionals looking to gain experiential skills necessary to enhance their current roles or start a new position. Course work covers digital strategy, online audience development, emerging technologies in journalism and more.

“With constant change in the industry, communicators need to know how to apply technology and analytics to our work,” said Earnest Perry, associate dean for graduate studies at the School of Journalism. “This certificate’s course work applies to professionals at all levels and in all areas of communication — from magazine editors to search marketing strategists.” 

Learning by doing

The Missouri School of Journalism is known for the “Missouri Method” of learning by doing. This allows students to have real-world, hands-on experiences that lead to new or different careers.

The 15-credit-hour online graduate certificate in interactive media will apply this same approach. 

“These students will be able to apply all of the course work to their careers,” said Jim Flink, assistant professor in the School of Journalism. “Interactive media is essentially a part of every communication professional’s job description today. We want our grads to have a leg up on the competition in their field so they can be a top candidate — or move up within their own organization.” 

Pathway to master’s

MU already has successful online master’s programs in four different areas of journalism — interactive media, health communication, media management and strategic communication.

Now in its 17th year, the online MA program was one of the first online graduate programs in journalism in the world. Mizzou’s online journalism students come to the program from everywhere, including newsrooms, broadcast stations, the armed forces and advertising firms. Alumni include many industry executives, innovators, esteemed educators and award winners.

For students who are interested in furthering their education, but not ready to commit to a master’s program, the graduate certificate is a way to get started. Students who complete the interactive media graduate certificate with a 3.5 GPA or higher will not be required to take the GRE to apply to one of the journalism master’s programs.

Looking ahead

With the journalism and communication industries continuing to evolve, the need for innovative professionals grows.

“The School of Journalism’s focus on hands-on learning is what sets their courses apart from other institutions,” said Kim Siegenthaler, director of Mizzou Online. “Our goal is to provide access to students everywhere who want to improve their careers but can’t relocate to attend Mizzou’s world-famous journalism school.”

Take the next step

Looking for an online program with real-world experience? The school is currently accepting applications for the summer 2019 semester.

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More than 220 graduates are earning their #OnlineStripes during this weekend’s Mizzou commencement ceremonies December 14 – 16, 2018.

To celebrate their outstanding accomplishments without traveling to campus, these grads can “attend” an online commencement ceremony that features a guest speaker, College of Arts and Science Dean Patricia Okker.

Patricia Okker Patricia Okker
College of Arts and Science

“We are all cheering for you, wherever you are. Even if you can’t come to campus for commencement,” said Okker.

The #MizzouMade online class of 2018 ranges in age from 22 to 64, and all worked diligently amidst conflicting priorities in order to finish their degrees, a detail that Dean Okker touches on in her remarks.

“Among the notable accomplishments of this fall’s graduating class is the fact that many of you finished your degrees while juggling work and commitments in your communities all across the U.S. and the world,” said Okker. “Whether it was missed basketball games, late nights at work, or a list of chores around the house that went undone, there’s no shortage of sacrifices you’ve made to be an online student.”

Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler shares Okker’s praise of the new graduates and recognizes their commitment to succeed despite any challenges they may have faced.

“These graduates have balanced competing priorities and persevered to reach this achievement,” said Siegenthaler. “We’re honored to have had the opportunity to help these graduates prepare for the next step, whether it’s professional advancement or personal enrichment.”

As Okker states in her online commencement speech, to this weekend’s graduates: “The entire Mizzou family congratulates you and wishes you every success … Congratulations!”

Join us in celebrating the online class of 2018 on their online commencement ceremony website. You can learn more about the graduating class, sign the guest book to let them know how proud you are and participate in the conversation on social media with #OnlineStripes.

Are you earning your online degree this weekend? Whether you’re having a special dinner, creating your own graduation celebration at home or even coming to Columbia, share your experience with us on social media using #OnlineStripes.

Ready to earn your #OnlineStripes? Join more than 300,000 Mizzou alumni making a difference across the globe:


The Trulaske College of Business is focused on leading the way in business education — and leading you to the next level of your finance career. With an online master’s in finance from MU, graduates can achieve more, earn more and still have time for life’s responsibilities.

3 reasons to get your online master’s in finance:

1. Level up:

The finance industry is growing rapidly, gaining roughly 39,300 new jobs between 2016 and 20261. With so many opportunities available, companies are searching for the most skilled professionals to take on these new jobs. Mizzou’s online master’s in finance program prepares graduates to become more marketable and promotable — ready to move into managerial roles.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts.

2. Earn your ROI:

With an average salary of $81,7602, a finance master’s graduate has earnings potential. In fact, master’s-holding professionals earn 29 percent more than their bachelor’s-holding colleagues at the mid-career mark. The Trulaske program’s estimated cost is $35,217 — graduates can truly get a high return on investment when they study with Mizzou.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts.

3. Stay flexible:

MU’s online master’s in finance program is designed for busy professionals. The program fits into any schedule and can be completed from virtually any location — perfect for students who have jobs, families and other important responsibilities. Not to mention, the program allows for flexibility in students’ career paths. By providing a solid base from which to make a jump in career, this program prepares you for any path you choose to take.

Ready to discover the potential your future holds? Download your free career outlook guide for more.

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UPCEA Award Winners UPCEA Award Winners
Front row from left: UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen, Terrie Nagel, Mark Kuhnert, Chi-Ren Shyu, Robert Sanders
Back row from left: Sean Goggins, UPCEA President Sandi Pershing, Grant Scott, Rachel Pinnow

UPCEA, a leading national organization for online education, recognized the University of Missouri with three awards at their Central Region Conference Sept. 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. Vice Provost for eLearning Jim Spain helped kick off the conference with a presentation on the history of distance learning at the University of Missouri.

MU’s Informatics Institute earned the Outstanding Program Award (Credit) for the online master’s in data science and analytics. Academic Adviser Robert Sanders, Associate Professor Sean Goggins, Assistant Research Professor Grant Scott and Informatics Institute Director Chi-Ren Shyu were onsite to accept the award and discuss the program’s interdisciplinary approach.

“The DSA program was built from the ground up as a collaboration with five different academic units,” said Scott. “Our goal was to build a leading, innovative interdisciplinary program … we feel we’ve been successful.”

The College of Education took home the Outstanding Program Award (Noncredit) for the Missouri K-12 ESOL certification preparation program. Associate Professor Rachel Pinnow accepted the award and highlighted the issue that the ESOL program is working to solve — a shortage of qualified teachers.

“English language learners make up the fastest growing student population in the United States,” said Pinnow. “Unfortunately this rise in English language learners in our schools has not been met with the corresponding rise in teachers who are certified to work with these students effectively.”

UPCEA also honored Mizzou Online Assistant Director of Research Terrie Nagel and School of Health Professions Associate Teaching Professor Mark Kuhnert with the Research and Scholarship Award for their research, “Supporting Internships with Mobile Learning.”

About UPCEA: The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is the leading association for professional, continuing and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

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The University of Missouri’s online master’s in special education with an emphasis in gifted education ranks No. 2 on “The 30 Best Online Master’s in Gifted & Talented Education Programs” list.

Mizzou is excited to offer a top-ranked program for educators that have a passion for creating a dynamic learning experience for gifted students. As writes, “A master’s in gifted education online prepares you for an instrumental role in the development of exceptional students’ abilities.”

Not only teachers benefit from the program — the degree has potential applications for occupational therapists, school counselors, and more. The program meets Missouri Department of Education (DESE) academic requirements for Missouri Gifted Certification.

The online master’s in special education program is 100 percent online, and students need 30 credit hours to complete the program. Students typically take one or two classes each semester and finish in two to three years.

Earn your #OnlineStripes from one of the best gifted education programs in the nation.

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The University of Missouri’s online master’s in journalism offerings rank No. 2 on “The 5 Best Online Master’s in Journalism Programs” list.

Mizzou offers journalism master’s options in four areas — health communication, interactive media, media management and strategic communication — that focus on preparing graduates for career advancement. Students come from newsrooms, broadcast stations, the armed forces, advertising firms and more.

All of the online journalism master’s options require 37 credit hours and one campus visit. This in-person professional seminar gives students an opportunity to meet their peers and further their discussions on the future of journalism. Hear more from a current student >>

Earn your #OnlineStripes from one of the best journalism schools in the nation.

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5 tips for success when taking online classes

Some of you are currently taking online classes. Others of you might be just starting your online degree program. And still others might be considering online education and beginning by doing your research. (If so, good for you!)

No matter what, we’d like to help you feel prepared. Keep reading for our five tips for success when taking online classes.

1. Know what to expect.

There is a myth that online courses are easier, or require less time, than face-to-face classes. This is not true! Taking an online course can be just as difficult. In fact, some students find that online courses are more demanding and take more time because of the additional reading required.

While online courses may give you more flexibility in terms of where and when you do your course work, don’t confuse the convenience of learning online (at home or at your own pace) with ease of learning the content.

Is online learning right for you? Find out by answering these questions.

2. Establish healthy study habits and a suitable workspace.

Once you’ve decided that online classes are right for you, the next step is making sure you’ve brushed up on the most effective study methods. If you’re continuing your education after many years in the workforce, you may need a bit of a refresher. Even if you have been immersed in classes recently, taking a step back and evaluating your study habits is an effective practice.

In addition to setting yourself up for studying success, make sure that you establish a suitable workspace. The ideal space is one that is quiet, with good internet connection and access to power, and without any distractions.

3. Take advantage of resources.

From the library to the career center, online students have access to many resources that exist for on-campus students. Need some help writing a paper? Need some one-on-one advice to help improve your study habits? There are resources for that, and much more. Make sure to check out these resources early, and take advantage of them when necessary.

4. Communicate frequently with professors and peers.

If you are taking a semester-based class, think of it as a “virtual classroom,” meaning that you should interact with your professors and peers just as you would in-person. These interactions are crucial to feeling engaged and avoiding isolation when taking online classes. In fact, many instructors will encourage online discussions, which is an excellent way to learn more about your peers. Continue the conversation by asking questions and giving feedback.

Additionally, fostering a strong relationship with your instructors will only help you succeed. Brittany Smith, who earned her master’s online at Mizzou, said that while the lack of face-to-face is “challenging,” her professors gave her the flexibility and support she needed to help her achieve her goals. Hear more from Brittany.

5. Ask for help.

If you have questions that aren’t related to a specific class, don’t be afraid to reach out to your academic adviser. All online degree-seeking students at Mizzou are assigned an adviser upon acceptance into a degree program.

Questions about your course or an assignment? As mentioned in Tip 4, having a great relationship with your instructors and fellow students will help you feel empowered to ask them for their assistance.