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Getting Started Online at UofL

Are you raising a family while working full time, looking to return to school after a long absence or an employed professional in need of supplemental education? Online programs at the University of Louisville can help you get on track to reach your educational and professional goals.

We know that starting or continuing your academic pursuit is a big decision and we commend you for it! Our support team can connect you with all necessary resources to help you choose a program that is right for you, navigate the admission process, enroll in courses and be successful. If you need help getting started or finding what you’re looking for, connect with one of our Online Enrollment Counselors.

Why enroll in an online program at UofL?

  1. Earn your degree from a top research university – the same degree you’d earn on campus!
  2. Learn from award-winning expert faculty, with extensive experience in their area(s)
  3. Take online courses in accelerated format (some programs offer 5- or 8-week courses)
  4. Gain applied knowledge sought after by employers and leadership skills that prepare you for success
  5. Apply your transferable skills anywhere in the world
  6. Gain access to Adobe Creative Cloud at no cost to you while enrolled as a UofL Card
  7. Build a better life for yourself and your family
  8. Reach your personal and professional goals
  9. Be a champion and drive your organization’s growth

About UofL

The University of Louisville (UofL) is a nationally-recognized R1 research university located in Kentucky's largest metropolitan area. UofL first formed as a seminary over 200 years ago, and joined the university system in 1970, currently being funded by the state of Kentucky. At UofL, online degrees and certificate programs are available in various disciplines at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate level. Degrees earned online at UofL are no different than a traditional on-campus degrees. The name of the degree and the transcripts will not indicate whether the degree was completed online, on campus or through a combination of both methods.

Our Campus, Wherever You Are

Through online learning, UofL’s excellence in education is extended to students anywhere in the world, with the same focused curriculum, expert faculty and learning resources as those available to campus students. Online learning allows you to "go to class" when it’s convenient for you. With a wide variety of online programs and courses, UofL brings the campus to you and meets you where you are.

UofL’s online programs provide convenient and flexible access to quality college education for current and future professionals. Earning a degree or certificate online enables you to fit education into your busy schedule. For a complete list of online programs available at UofL, visit our Online Programs Finder.

UofL’s online courses are delivered through Blackboard, a user-friendly online learning platform that allows students and instructors to interact, network and collaborate on class assignments and team projects, exchange thoughts and ideas or share experiences. For a complete list of online courses available at UofL, visit http://hal.louisville.edu (select “Distance Education” in the location field).

Online learning video - Turn your why into how

"If you have a pulse, you have a purpose, and I would live each day seeking out what my purpose in my life is and then work towards that goal. And if the University of Louisville can play a role in that, I would say definitely sign up right now."


Whether you’re looking to stand out in your company, make a career move, achieve a personal goal, be a role model for your loved ones or all of the above, online education through the University of Louisville can help you get there. We are proud to be part of your journey to success and we look forward to welcoming you as an online student at UofL.

Go Cards!

Is online education at UofL right for you?

Online learning video - Turn your why into how

Do you need college credentials to increase your earnings, maintain your current job or advance in your company? Do you have conflicting priorities, like a family or social commitment, that makes it difficult to physically come to campus? Do you want to expand your skills and knowledge in an area/discipline of high-demand? Is your daily schedule too hectic for going back to school in a traditional manner? If your answer is 'Yes' to any of the questions above, earning your degree online at UofL might be a perfect fit!

Online Learning Advantages

  1. Earning a degree online can help you fit education in your busy daily schedule and secure or advance in your current job, or even enter a new field or occupation.
  2. While learning online, you can develop transferable skills in time management, information organization, written communication or project management.
  3. Many online programs can be accessed from any location, so there is no need to interrupt your professional and social routine to go to class.
  4. Many classes are designed so you may attend any time that is convenient for you, there is no need to change your work schedule or put your career on hold.
  5. In an online class, you can get the one-on-one attention from your professors through user-friendly course platforms and direct communication (phone/email).
  6. Online courses allow you to collaborate with colleagues on projects and assignments in real-time by using forums, discussion boards and other virtual tools.
  7. Online students come from various backgrounds and locations. You can network and build professional relationship with classmates, regardless of your/their location (in the US or abroad).

Keys to Success

  • What is online learning?

    As the name suggests, "online learning" is learning facilitated in an online environment. Rather than attend class in a traditional classroom setting, online learning allows you to "go to class" when it’s convenient for you. UofL uses Blackboard, a course management system, to facilitate online learning. When classes begin for the semester, you will log in to Blackboard to access your course. Each online course you’re taking has its own site within Blackboard; these sites are your online classrooms. Students use Blackboard to:

    • Read the course syllabus or handouts
    • Submit papers and other assignments
    • Take tests
    • View grades
    • Send e-mail to other students or the instructor
    • Discuss readings with classmates on a "discussion board"

    Like traditional courses to which you’re accustomed, online courses usually require that you submit assignments, interact with other students, and communicate with your instructor.

  • What you will need to take an online course

    While it may seem obvious, it’s important to note that you need regular access to a computer and the Internet throughout your course. Most students have their own computer, but you could also take an online class if you have regular access at work, the local library, a community college, a friend’s home, or anywhere else. You’ll need to access your course homepage regularly to check instructor updates, participate in discussions, and more. You should check in at least once a day, although most students find it helpful to log in multiple times per day.

    If you have Internet access and a computer purchased within the last two years or so, it’s likely you have everything you need to get started. Although not mandatory, it’s extremely advantageous to have a high-speed Internet connection such as cable or DSL. Large file downloads (e.g., videos) could cause problems if using dial-up.

    Depending on the course, you may need to download and install some free software available on the Internet, and you will likely need word processing and other office productivity software. Read our online course technical requirements to ensure you have everything you need. Learn more about the Technical Requirements for online learning.

  • Getting started

    UofL uses Blackboard, a course management system, to facilitate online learning. When classes begin for the semester, you will log in to Blackboard to access your course. Each online course you’re taking has its own site within Blackboard; these sites are your online classrooms. See the Blackboard module for more information.

    You’ll receive instructions via email to your university account before the class begins describing how to log in to Blackboard. Be sure to log in and find your course no later than the first day of the semester. When you enter the course, you’ll likely be taken directly to the announcements section of your course. This is where your instructor might post updates about the class, and there could be a welcome message waiting for you when you log in that describes what you need to do first. In rare cases, instructors use a learning management system other than Blackboard to administer the course. This would probably be posted in the announcement section or communicated to you via email. Official university email will be sent to your UofL-assigned email account, so it’s important to check it regularly.

    If no announcements are posted, look for the course syllabus. Just like in a face-to-face course, the course syllabus is your guide for the semester. It will likely explain the structure of the course, grading criteria, assignments, deadlines, course policies, and more. If you can’t find the syllabus or you have questions, contact your instructor immediately. If you don’t know who is teaching your course, call the Office of Online Learning at 502.852.8870.

  • Time requirements

    Like face-to-face courses, each online course is different. The amount of time you’ll spend on coursework will vary by class, but they all have a few things in common. Online courses follow the academic calendar just like on-campus courses. Specific dates for each online course can be found in the online schedule of classes. Online courses are not self-paced. Your syllabus will usually outline what is expected of you each week—how much reading you need to do, assignments to turn in, etc. Since they are not self-paced, online classes include due dates. You will turn in assignments electronically throughout the semester on dates set by your instructor.

    Be prepared to spend at least as much time studying in an online class as you would in an on-campus class. Some students say that online courses require even more time than traditional classes. Before the course begins, make sure to set aside time for studying each week. Also, it is best to work on your course a little at a time rather than doing all work for a week in one study period. You should log into your course on a regular basis—at least once per day—to check for updates from your instructor, communication from your classmates, and more.

  • Teaching materials and assignments

    If you’ve taken a course on campus, you probably sat in a desk while a professor gave a lecture from the front of the classroom. This is hardly possible in an online course and, in fact, is not an effective way to teach in the online environment. Course content varies by course, but most will include some mix of textbook or journal readings, portions of video lectures, discussion boards, PowerPoint presentations, and more.

    Just like traditional courses, students in online courses complete group projects (online), write papers, and take exams (online or proctored). Most courses also require that students regularly participate in discussion boards, which allow you to discuss course topics with your classmates and instructor.

    Some students expect online courses to be easier than traditional courses. This is a myth! Online courses are different from traditional courses but usually just as challenging.

  • Student and faculty interaction

    Online courses are student-centered. Your instructor assumes the role of a guide rather than a lecturer, and you glean information through assignments, readings, discussion board postings, and other tools your instructor may use. You must be an active learner in online courses. Your teacher is a facilitator and will help you learn the material, but you must take responsibility for your own learning. This includes communicating with your instructor if you don’t understand material, staying caught up on class readings, regularly logging into the course, and informing your instructor of assistance you may need or personal issues that affect your coursework. Also, it is important to note that e-mail sent from your instructor will go to your university-assigned email account, so be sure to check it regularly.

    You may be surprised by how much you communicate with other students in your online class. In fact, some students say they get to know their teachers and classmates in online courses better than in traditional courses. Students who say little in a traditional course often find it easier to participate in discussions in an online course. Your classmates are also one of your greatest resources when you need help. You’re not alone. If you need help, ask for it! The most successful online learners are not afraid to ask for help from their instructor or classmates.

  • Characteristics of successful online learners

    Online learning has provided access to higher education to many students who cannot attend a traditional class. However, online learning is not for everyone. The most successful online learners possess the following qualities.

    Online learning provides you with a great deal of flexibility; you can access your course when and where you want with little direct contact from your instructor. You must be motivated to keep up with coursework. If you get behind in the course, it will be very difficult to catch up.

    Independent learners
    Interactions between instructors and students in a traditional course are usually immediate. While your online course instructor will answer your questions and help with course material, it could take 24 hours or more to receive response to phone calls or e-mails. You must be comfortable learning in such an environment.

    Computer literate
    You don’t need to be an advanced computer user to succeed online, but it is helpful to start an online course with basic keyboarding skills, a basic knowledge of word processing software, and the ability to send and receive e-mail. It is also helpful to have an understanding of how to conduct research on the Internet.

    Good time managers
    Since your course schedule will not revolve around regular face-to-face class sessions, you must be able to set a schedule that allows you to meet course deadlines. Depending on the course, you might spend at least three to five hours per week on course-related activities. It takes a great deal of time management effort to balance this time with work, family, and other obligations you might have.

    Effective readers and writers
    Online courses require a great deal of reading and writing. You must be able to communicate thoughts and apply learned material through writing to other classmates and your instructor.

    Effective problem solvers
    You may face problems in your online course that are outside of your control. For example, your computer or Internet connection may malfunction, your electricity could go out, or you may have difficulty contacting your instructor. You must be able to think critically in such situations to determine the best course of action without becoming overly frustrated.

Discover why online learning at UofL may be right for you!

Do you have questions about admission, financial aid, credit transfer, military rates or international admission? Review the answers below to commonly asked questions. Still have additional questions or need assistance getting started? We’re here to help. Connect with one of our Online Enrollment Counselors today!

  • General
    • What is online learning?
      Online learning video - What is online learning

      Online learning is a convenient and flexible way to gain a top-quality college education as a current or future professional, working parent or someone with multiple priorities. With fully online classes, you are able to fit education into your busy schedule and complete coursework at the time that’s right for you, from anywhere in the world.

      Online learning at UofL, specifically, is about taking our history of excellence in education and delivering it to not only students in our local area, but to students everywhere. It’s extending the privilege and experience of being a UofL Card to you—wherever you are.

    • What are the benefits of online learning?
      Online learning video - Key benefits of online learning

      The biggest benefit of online learning is that you can work to earn your degree from your own home while raising a family, working full-time or experiencing particular life circumstances that make commuting to campus difficult or impossible.

      Benefits of online learning include:

      • Receive the same exceptional UofL education and degrees as on-campus students—from wherever is most convenient to you
      • Take courses in accelerated format and earn your education faster (most programs offer 5- or 8-week courses)
      • Juggle responsibilities and multiple priorities by completing coursework whenever best fits your schedule
      • Work full-time while gaining new skills and expertise to advance your career
      • Don’t sacrifice time with family or friends with a synchronous classwork (no set evening class times)
    • Why is online learning important? What is the purpose of online learning?

      Online learning is important because it gives busy adults the chance to gain the education they need to take their career to the next level, accomplish their goals and change their life—while still allowing them to juggle all of life’s other responsibilities. With flexible class schedules, online students can gain the skills and expertise they need through a bachelor’s, master’s or certificate program whenever it fits in their schedule. The purpose of online learning is to extend education opportunities to students who cannot make the physical commitment required of a traditional program.

    • Is online learning effective?

      Online learning is an incredibly effective way for nontraditional students (e.g. working professionals, busy adults, parents, executives, etc.) to continue their education for career advancement or personal fulfillment without needing to set aside time to come to campus. Online learning at the University of Louisville is especially effective because students can earn a bachelor’s, master’s or certificate in the time and place that’s right for them… but still get the nationally-renowned education as traditional students.

      That said, online learning is not for everyone. It does require a higher level of discipline and accountability than on campus programs. Since you don’t have a regular meeting time or direct face-to-face contact with your peers and instructors at a scheduled time and place, it’s up to you to make sure you’re attending classes, participating in discussion and completing your coursework.

    • I work full-time. Are there other students learning online like me?

      We have a very diverse student body in our online degree program community. Many of our students work full-time, are stay-at-home parents or are returning to the classroom after a long hiatus. We can almost guarantee that you will have classmates with similar life experiences as you.

    • How are online courses different from traditional classes?

      Online learning at the University of Louisville provides learning that is independent of time and location. Rather than gathering in a classroom, students and instructors use technology to interact. Online classes at the University of Louisville are very user friendly, allowing the student to interact directly with instructors and classmates through Blackboard, the university's online course delivery system.

      Classes follow the same semester calendar as traditional classes. Students will need a computer and internet access to complete their coursework. Students that earn degrees from UofL through online learning receive degrees and transcripts that are identical to traditional UofL students.

    • What’s the difference between a degree earned online and a degree earned on-campus?
      Online learning video - Are online degrees the same as on-campus

      At UofL, we pride ourselves on delivering the same quality and excellence in education online as we do through our on-campus programs. A degree earned online from the University of Louisville is the same as a traditionally earned degree. The name of the degree and your transcripts will not indicate how the courses were completed.

      In other words, a UofL degree is a UofL degree. You are taught by the same world-class faculty as our on-campus students. You read the same books, do many of the same assignments and earn the same degrees. The biggest difference is that you are able to do it in a way that best fits your lifestyle.

    • Will my diploma say I got my degree online?

      No! When you graduate from the University of Louisville, you’ve earned a degree from UofL. Period. Regardless of what path you took to complete your degree, your diploma and transcripts will read the same.

    • Are online degrees recognized?

      Absolutely. Not only is online education becoming more and more prevalent in society today, but earning an online degree from UofL comes with the same weight and recognition as earning a degree on-campus. Our online programs and students are held to the same standards and level of excellence as our on campus students.

      Furthermore, since “earned online” is not listed anywhere on your diploma or transcripts, it would be up to you to disclose how you earned your degree.

    • Can I get a job with an online degree?

      Earning a degree online at UofL is held to the same esteem of any degree earned through traditional means. Meaning you’d be equally qualified for any job that the same degree, earned on campus, would qualify you to hold.

    • I haven’t been back to school in a while, how do I know if this is right for me?
      Online learning video - Is online learning right for me

      One of the great things about online learning is that some of the typical classroom pressures and anxieties are not present in an online classroom. Learning online allows to think, work, share knowledge and experiences with professors and peers in a non-judgmental environment that is highly conducive to collaboration. If you are concerned about technical issues, please check out the Online Learning technical requirements for taking an online course.

    • I’m not sure if I’m tech savvy enough to take an online course. What should I do?

      We encourage all students to read about the technical requirements for online learning to decide whether you have both the hardware and technical skills to take an online course.

    • How do online students address their issues, concerns and complaints?

      In compliance with recent United States Department of Education regulations, the procedure students should follow to address complaints is outlined below.Students who have complaints, grievances, or concerns regarding courses taken at the University of Louisville should contact the Student Grievance Officer to have the issues resolved in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner.

      The University’s Student Grievance Procedures are outlined in detail on the Student Grievance Officer’s website. Students should first seek to resolve their complaints through informal discussion and administrative channels.If you reside outside the state of Kentucky, and in the unlikely event that the issue is not resolved internally at the University of Louisville, you may also file a complaint with your state. View our Student Complaint Procedures page for more information.

      You may also contact our accrediting agency - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and the complaint form are available here [PDF].

    • What is the difference between online and traditional classes at UofL?

      Online learning at the University of Louisville provides learning that is independent of time and location. Rather than gathering in a classroom, students and instructors use technology to interact. Online classes at the University of Louisville are very user friendly, allowing the student to interact directly with instructors and classmates through Blackboard, the university's online course delivery system.

      Classes follow the same semester calendar as traditional classes. Students will need a computer and internet access to complete their coursework. Students that earn degrees from UofL through online learning receive degrees and transcripts that are identical to traditional UofL students.

  • Admissions
    • What test scores are required for admission?

      To view the specific admission requirements, including test scores, please visit our Admissions page and select the program of your choice.

    • What are the application deadlines?

      Applications received at least six weeks prior to the beginning of a term will be given priority. Please refer to the academic calendar for the start date of each term.

  • Financial Aid
    • How do I apply for financial aid?

      To apply for most financial aid programs you need to complete the FAFSA. You can complete the FAFSA online at: www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for the University of Louisville is: 001999.

    • What is financial aid and where can I go to learn about it?

      The federal government and Department of Education maintain a comprehensive financial aid website. We encourage you to visit this site to learn more about financing your degree program. Visit the government’s financial aid site.

    • How much is tuition for an online course?

      For the current academic year, the tuition rates for undergraduate and graduate online courses can be found here. For active duty military, special rates may apply. Note: Certain members of the Reserve Component and Kentucky National Guard may also be eligible for special rates.

  • Transfer Credit
    • Can I receive credit for graduate courses completed at another institution?

      Earned graduate credit may be transferred from accredited institutions that offer advanced degrees. Generally, the maximum number of semester hours transferable, upon request, is six.

    • Can I receive credit toward my degree for leadership, professional development or certificate program courses that I’ve taken?

      Yes. The BS in Organizational Leadership and Learning and the BS in General Studies allow students to earn credit through prior learning experience and/or certificates. Several graduate programs allow credits earned in a certificate to count towards electives.

    • How does the transfer process work?

      UofL's online bachelor's degree programs are designed so that you complete the first two years of coursework through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). However, you may transfer credit to UofL from any regionally accredited university. You will submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you attended as part of the admissions process. Upon review, some or all credit may be applied to your degree program.

      Ideally, students transfer to UofL with a completed associate degree from an accredited institution to maximize credit transfer*. Students who have been enrolled at a Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) school and have fulfilled all of their general education requirements can have all of those credits transferred in block, and can then begin immediately with the upper level coursework. Students who have not completed an associate's degree but have completed most or all general education requirements may be able to complete remaining courses at UofL.

      * See the UofL Transfer Credit Policy for more information.

  • Accepted Students
    • How do I register for class?

      Some students are required to speak with an academic adviser and/or attend orientation prior to registering for class. Refer to your letter of admission or contact your academic department to determine your next steps. Also, the date on which you can register depends on your academic goals and status (freshman, sophomore, etc. ). Consult the registration calendar to see when you can register.

      When you've completed the steps necessary to access the course registration system, you will register for class through ULink. Click "for first-time users" to set up your account. After you have logged in to ULink, select the student services tab (across the top) and then "add classes" under registration. There are instructions on each web page to assist you with the process.

    • How do I find a course?

      To find any course offered by the university, you can search the course schedule. Choose the term, subject, and enter a catalog number (or leave this blank to see the entire department offering). To specifically find online courses choose "Distance Education" in the location field and then search.

    • How do I order textbooks?

      Our online bookstore is convenient and easy to use. You can use this site to directly purchase your books or simply to view lists of required texts for your classes.

    • How do I access the UofL library?

      The Distance Learning Library Services (DLLS) are available to all online learners. The following library services are available for University of Louisville distance learners using their ULink username & password:

      • Research assistance to distance education students & faculty
      • Locate & retrieve items from UofL library collection or other universities
      • Delivery of library resources not available immediately online
      • Remote access to library assignments by course professors
      • Remote access to electronic databases of library resources for self-directed research
  • International Students
    • How do I apply for admission?

      The application for admission can be found under your specific degree program. Note that you will pay a non-refundable fee as part of the online admission process, you will submit a complete academic record to be reviewed for the awarding credit. A complete academic record includes all official transcripts of courses of study completed and degrees or certificates earned at the secondary or collegiate level.

      Students applying to undergraduate programs will need to submit official transcripts of records from all secondary schools, universities, colleges, or professional schools attended.

      Secondary school records are not normally required of those applying for admission to a graduate program, but official transcripts of all credit earned since secondary school are required.

      All academic credentials not in English must be accompanied with a notarized verbatim English translation in addition to official transcripts.

      Undergraduate applicants who have attended post-secondary schools, colleges, universities, or professional institutions outside the United States must submit their academic records to World Education Services or Educational Credentials Evaluators for a “course-by-course evaluation.” An application for evaluation and a list of services and fees is available at www.WES.org or www.ECE.org.

      All academic credentials should be mailed directly to the respective admissions offices:

      • Undergraduate Applicants: Office of Admissions, Dept. AO, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292 USA
      • Graduate Applicants: Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292 USA
    • What tests do I need to take?

      Students for whom English is a second language must show evidence of sufficient proficiency in the English language by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants may demonstrate English proficiency by submitting TOEFL scores of 213 or higher on the computer-based test, 79 or higher on the internet- based test, or 550 or higher on the paper-based test. Visit www.toefl.org for more information on the TOEFL. Applicants holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.

      If applying to a graduate program, you will also need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Refer to your specific degree program to learn the required scores for your department. Information and registration material may be obtained at www.gre.org or by writing GRE, Educational Testing Service, BOX 955, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA.

    • What are the tuition rates for international students?

      Tuition rates for international students who take online courses only and do not enter the United States are found here.

    • Can international students receive federal financial aid?

      International students are not eligible for federal financial aid, with some exceptions. To learn more about eligibility for international students, visit the U.S. Department of Education website on preparing for and funding education beyond high school. Click "Financial Aid Eligibility."I am an F or J visa holder.

    • Can I take online courses?

      If you are an international student completing your degree entirely online from outside the United States, you may enroll in as many online courses as you would like for academic credit toward your degree. However, if you are a non-immigrant F or J visa holder, no more than the equivalent of one class, or three credits per semester, may be counted toward full time enrollment if taken in an online course or other form of distance education course that does not require your physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.

      If you are an F-1 visa holder and your course of study is a language program, no online or distance education classes may be considered to count toward classroom hours or credit.

      If you are in your last semester of study and only one course is needed to complete the program, it cannot be an online or other form of distance education course.

      Note: International students do not need a U.S. visa to enroll in an online degree program as there are no on-campus requirements and the program can be completed from outside the U.S.