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Asynchronous Vs. Synchronous Degree Programs: Which is right for you?

| 2 minute read

You’ve done it! Made up your mind to get your online degree. Now you need to figure out which program is best for you and what type of classes you want. Do you want asynchronous or synchronous degree programs? Not sure of the difference? We can help!

What is the difference between asynchronous and synchronous online classes?

These big words may sound confusing, so let’s break them down.

Asynchronous online degree programs don’t require meeting your class at a set time. Your lessons are available to you and you can watch them at your convenience. This could include recorded videos you watch on your own schedule, emails, and discussion boards.

Synchronous online degree programs are when your teacher requires you to get online at a specific time to meet. This requires you to attend class at a set time to view the teacher live via video and participate. Just like a real class, teachers take attendance and you are online with your classmates live.

BestColleges.org says it best:

For some students, another major part of the convenience of online college is the ability to work on your own schedule. Whether or not the online college program you’re considering facilitates this scheduling convenience depends on whether the course is synchronous or asynchronous.

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Which is right for you, an asynchronous or synchronous online degree?

Not sure which online program is right for you? Here are a few simple questions for you to decide.

  • Do you want to meet your classes at a specific time?
  • Can you be on your computer at the same time each week?
  • Do you want a live interaction with your professor?
    • Then synchronous might be the right choice for you.
  • Does your schedule change week to week?
  • Do you need to get online at odd hours to access your classes?
  • Do you have family obligations that might interrupt your availability to sit through a live class meeting?
    • Then asynchronous might be the right choice for you.

Now that you know the difference, you have the knowledge to ask the right questions. When you are choosing your online degree program, ask how the classes are scheduled. Based on your schedule and your busy life, our programs are designed with you in mind. Check out our list of available online programs and choose the one that’s right for you.


Office of Online Learning

All blog posts are written and maintained by the Office of Online Learning at The University of Southern Mississippi. We provide support to online students, to faculty teaching online courses, and to units seeking to develop, grow, or improve online programs at the University.

For more information, email us at online@usm.edu.