Columbia University Providing Online Graduate Certificate Programs

Beginning in fall 2013, Columbia University will be providing online versions of its programs for Master of Arts in Statistics and Master of Science in Actuarial Science. This will be the first time that students around the world will be able to further their knowledge by pursuing a degree from Columbia without having to move away from their current communities – allowing them to pursue their professional goals and learn more about various career interests as they relate to the academic program. The programs are provided due to a recent collaboration between Columbia's Department of Statistics, the School of Continuing Education, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The new programs will be provided by using the School of Continuing Education's online learning platform as a resource, which has been designed to provide 'knowledge networking' by the use of social technologies and communities between students and faculty members.

Every online course will be featuring a weekly lecture session that will be online, similar to what students would experience if they were attending the course while on campus. Between these sessions, the students and faculty will have the opportunity to communicate through a social network and share their thoughts and ideas regarding the curriculum associated with the course. All of the courses will combine live events, self-study programs, and community driven activities that will encourage the students and the faculty to work together in order to achieve an academic goal.

Students who are in the Master of Arts in Statistics program will be learning advanced knowledge about statistics and will have an emphasis on the business applications of these statistics, as well as how to use technology in order to help them analyze the information and datasets that are provided to them in a professional scenario. They will have the chance to learn from faculty members who have worked within the fields of statistical methods research and various forms of mathematics. Students will also have the opportunity to use the degree to help them create a foundation for achieving their doctorate within the future.

The Master of Science in Actuarial Science is best for those who are associate actuaries who want to have future advancement in exam preparation, college graduates who want to have a career as an actuary, or professionals that have transitioned into a newly popular and growing industry. They will learn key skills and an emphasis on various aspects of communication and business acumen. The students will have the opportunity to focus on choosing from various electives in order to tailor their experience and their studies towards their interests or needs, such as property, casualty, enterprise risk management, and health. Ultimately, both programs will provide students with the opportunity to pursue their professional and academic experience on a level that was previously not possible due to location constraints.

These graduate certificate programs are the first of many being discussed by the college. Increased options are planned for the upcoming school years in order to assist students in specializations that offer a wider array of career options in hard to fill fields.