Self-Paced Online College Courses & Degrees

Self-paced online courses are offered by multiple online colleges offering students flexibility in earning a college degree. Courses are taken at the pace set by an individual.

Timelines for finishing self-paced online courses are generally very lenient. These courses are designed to help individuals with busy schedules complete their degrees without the worry of exam dates and overdue assignments. No driving to campus nor working on group projects with other students.

Procrastinators Need Not Apply

In general, self-paced accredited online courses are a great option for busy people looking to finish a degree. These classes are not recommended for procrastinators. There are time limits, and those who put off coursework will not be catered to. Students may have to pay extension fees if they go beyond the given time for courses or semesters.

These courses are recommended for those who are self-starters that can work unsupervised, stay on task, and stay motivated on their own.

Online students should consider carefully whether self-paced or regular online classes are the best fit for them.

Popular Self-Paced Online Colleges and Courses

Thomas Edison State University

TESU offers flexible online courses that allow students to finish their degrees at their own pace, when and where they want. TESU offers more than 100 areas of study in a variety of fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Associate’s degrees require 60 credits to complete while bachelor degree programs require 120 credits.

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Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College offers Flex Choice self-paced courses online. Additional savings can be attained by completing available self-directed assessments. Degrees can be earned at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Rasmussen offers 30+ full online degree programs.

This program allows students to accelerate or slow down earning their degrees at their own bidding. This offers students the opportunity to work at their own pace, hustling through courses they know and taking their time with new, challenging subjects.

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University of Illinois Online at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers self-paced online courses for both degree-seeking and non-degree students. UI at Urbana-Champaign.

UI offers NetMath and Math Teacher Link courses that are considered self-paced, continuous courses.  Math Teacher Link provides short, online courses for math teachers of 9-14th-grade levels.

University of North Dakota – Online & Distance Education

The University of North Dakota offers anytime enrollment courses. These are self-paced independent study courses offered online or through correspondence by mail. Students have 9 months to complete their courses. No financial aid is available for self-paced courses online.

UND online offers 58 online self-paced courses covering many topics such as economics, business, English, history, geology, arts, and more.

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Capella University

Capella offers Flexpath, a self-paced online degree program that fits the busy life. There are no preset class times nor deadlines, offering students the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own way at a much faster pace and more affordable cost than traditional programs.

Students can take up to 2 courses at a time for one flat tuition rate allowing them to complete as many courses as they are able in 12 weeks.

Bachelor’s Degree program $2,200 (RN-to-BSN – $2,500)

Master’s, MBA, and certificate programs $2,400

Flexpath offers both self-paced online bachelor’s and master’s programs in business, information technology, and psychology.

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Penn Foster College

Penn Foster offers self-paced, online associate’s degrees and career diplomas. Students have up to two years to complete courses and up to six years to complete degree programs—extensions must be requested and approved. Proctoring is required for final exams upon approval by Penn Foster. Penn Foster is accredited by the Distance Learning and Training Council (DETC).

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Students can start for as little as $10 (Special Offer)


Western Governors University

Accredited by DETC and four regional accrediting agencies, WGU is a self-paced online college where students have no specific courses, program, lengths, nor grades. Online programs have no predetermined lengths, meaning that the student can truly work at their own pace.

Self-paced online degree programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Business, IT, Education, and Health Professions.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,790 per six-month term

Graduate Tuition: $3,250

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Waubonsee Community College

Waubonsee offers Self-Paced Open Entry courses via videos, textbooks, and study guides. Instructors are assigned to courses to help at the request of students. Students can finish coursework at their own pace as long as homework and exams are completed by the end of the semester. Some tests require proctoring.

Students can take up to two courses at the same time. There is an additional $35 class fee for self-paced open entry classes.

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Self-Paced Online Courses, not for everyone

While self-paced college programs offer convenience and flexibility for continuing education, students can easily get caught up in procrastination. If full or part-time students fail to complete coursework on time, they run the risk of paying extension fees or being dropped for failure to complete. Those who can stay self-motivated and work with no supervision are the best candidates for online self-paced college courses.

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