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FAQs About JSPH Online Programs

How do I know if I am a good candidate for online learning?
I’ve heard that some people don’t do well in online courses. 

You are correct – online learning is not for everyone. Success with online courses requires good organizational and time management skills.  It is ideal for self-motivated and self-directed learners - those who like to work at their own, steady pace, and on their own time.  It also favors learners who are comfortable with lots of reading and writing and who don’t need face-to-face interaction with the instructor or other students to engage in meaningful discussions.  To see if you are a good candidate for online learning, take our 'Is Online Learning for Me?' quiz. This will help you determine whether or not you are a good candidate for an online learning program.

I’ve heard that online courses involve more time and work than on-site courses. Is this true?
For the most part, yes.  More of the learning is self-directed, and contrary to what you may think, there is more opportunity for discussion and presentation of your work. When you sit in a classroom and the instructor asks a question, one or two students generally respond.  When the instructor asks a question online, everyone has to respond!  Also, in an online course you are able to share your work with other students, not just the instructor.  Expect to devote 10 - 12 hours a week to your online course work.

I’ve never taken an online course before. How will I know what to do?
We provide an easy, fun, online orientation module that will introduce you to all aspects of the online learning experience. It will introduce you to Jefferson’s online Course Management System, Blackboard Learn, and give you the opportunity to practice using this system.

Are online courses the same quality as on-site courses?
Absolutely, because of our course design and the application of the latest learning practices, at the graduate level learning outcomes are actually higher in an online course. Only the format of delivery is different. Jefferson School of Population Health subscribes to the award-winning Quality Matters (QM) Program which is dedicated to "inter-institutional quality assurance in online learning.”  QM uses a rubric of 8 general standards and 40 specific standards to evaluate the design and delivery of online courses. You can learn more about QM and these standards at

Are JSPH’s programs accredited?
Yes. Jefferson and all JSPH programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional accrediting body for postsecondary institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region.

How long does it take to complete a JSPH online degree program?
Depending on your pace, you can complete a degree program in 24 – 48 months.  If you take two courses per term (six courses per year — the maximum that we recommend), you can finish in 24 – 27 months. If you take one course per term, you can finish in 48 months.  Certificates, however, can be completed in 12 to 24 months.

Does the JSPH degree program have a residency requirement? Will I ever have to come to campus?
Yes, you will have to come on campus once for one week to present your Capstone project after you have completed all coursework for the degree.   

Do I have to be available at precise times during the day or week?
No.  JSPH’s courses are asynchronous.  This means that you do the work on your own schedule. 

How many students in a typical JSPH online course?
We try to limit each class to 15 students. This way, there is plenty of opportunity for interaction and discussion between instructor and students and among the students themselves.

How many hours per week will I need to devote to an online course?
On average, 10-12 hours, depending on the course and your learning style.  This includes reading and writing assignments, online discussions and activities, tests, exams, papers and projects.

Will there be a real person I can talk to if I have a problem?
Yes, you will be assigned a Program Liaison who will be able to answer all your questions -- or put you in contact with the people that can.   

Do I need a special kind of computer or special software to take a JSPH online course?
Probably not.  The technology requirements for online students are no different than those for campus-based students. All you need is a computer with access to the internet.  Click here to see the specifics.

Is federally supported financial aid available for online degree programs?
Yes.  Federally supported loans are available. Find out more information about how to apply for financial aid.

Will I have access to technical support?
Yes.  You will have access to technical support through Jefferson IS&T as well as the Library’s online services. 


Juan Leon, PhD
Director, Online Learning

901 Walnut Street
10th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 503-0174


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