The Distance Learning Masters degree is a low-residency program.

Individualized Masters Degree
A low residency masters program


Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the first step I should take if I am interested in applying for the IMA Program?
Prior to submitting an application, it is advisable to contact the program coordinator, to have an initial discussion about your proposed field of study. This is not a requirement, but rather a helpful way to begin the process and clarify any questions you may have about the program.

Will all of my classes be taught from a distance?
Yes. This program is for the self-motivated, independent student who works best in a one-on-one environment. You will be working individually with each instructor for each class. Your class “meetings” will consist of regular email, Skype, and/or phone conversations. We do not offer on-campus classes at the Masters level, however with the approval of the Academic Dean, there may be an occasional opportunity to attend an on-campus undergraduate course and then work with the instructor to bump up the course work to meet graduate level standards.

Do you accept any transfer credits?
We will accept up to 6 Masters level transfer credits in your field of study.

What are the low-residency weekends?
There are two required residencies. At the first one, which occurs just before you begin your first semester, you will work with your advisor to map out your Degree Plan. You may also have the opportunity to meet with some of your instructors and begin designing the content of your first semester’s classes. You’ll also become acquainted with our campus and the services we offer (library, writing center, IT). Finally, you’ll get to know other masters students beginning their unique programs and possibly get to see project presentations from students about to graduate.

You will come to campus again to present your final Capstone Project, or you have the option of presenting it via interactive technology.

Do you require any pre-requisites?
We evaluate each applicant on a case-by-case basis. For a student wishing to study Film who has not taken any prior film classes, or a student studying Transpersonal Psychology without any prior academic background in psychology, we may require some pre-requisites before entering. However, each person is looked at individually.

How and when do I choose classes?
Along with your application, you will submit a “Plan of Study” – a wish list of classes that you would ideally like to take. Ideas for classes can come from our academic catalog of undergraduate offerings, other institutions’ graduate classes in your field, or they can be individually crafted. Once you are accepted, the Program Coordinator will begin the process of matching you with an advisor in your field and, in consultation with you and the Academic Dean, will begin designing your first semester’s classes and finding instructors to teach them. The first semester’s classes will be confirmed prior to the residency so that you are set to begin your studies when the semester starts. At the residency, you will work with your advisor to plan out classes for future semesters. Classes will fit within the program framework.

Are there any required classes?
While your classes are individually designed, they will fit into a general framework, or Degree Plan that outlines some required coursework (i.e., Research Methods, Practical Experience, Capstone). Even the required courses, however, are individually tailored to your chosen field of study.

If there is a mentor that I wish to work with, is that possible?
Yes. We can hire advisors and/or instructors with PhDs or MA degrees from anywhere in the country. S/he must submit a resume for review.

What are some examples of academic fields that students are studying?

Philosophy & Creative Writing
Transpersonal Psychology
Expressive Arts & Multi-cultural Studies
Collaborative Education
Holistic Healing
Irish Art & Literature
Counseling & Art Techniques
Family & Disability Studies
Intercultural Communication
Early Childhood Education & Patient Advocacy
School Counseling & Psychology
Law & Sociology


Who is my advisor and who are my instructors?

Your advisor is an expert in your academic field of interest who will help you design your program as a whole. S/he will provide guidance in developing your academic and professional goals, and will help you map out your course plan prior to, and at, the residency. S/he may also teach one or more of your classes and will serve as a mentor.

Your instructors are your teachers for each class, with whom you will work individually and meet with regularly via Skype, email and phone. The Program Director will assist you in finding instructors, and your advisor may also be a resource in this regard.


How do my classes work?

You and your instructor will develop a Course Learning Agreement and Syllabus prior to the start of the class. The CLA spells out the learning goals and objectives for each course and the Syllabus is a schedule of weekly check-in meetings and a timeline for submitting assignments.


For more information about the Individualized Masters Degree Program at Burlington College, you may request more information online or contact us at:

Office of Graduate Admissions
Burlington College
351 North Avenue
Burlington, Vermont 05401
Toll Free: 800-862-9616
Direct: 802-923-2180
E-mail: jstarratburlington [dot] edu