The Rationale behind an Online Graduate Certificate in Research Methods
Bright Hub’s own Thomas Trzyna in his article “Online Doctoral Degrees and International Trends in Doctoral Education” points out that there is a movement in academia to streamline the methods of research required for a doctorate. The same holds true in the areas of law and medicine where the ability to research, cite sources, and separate trustworthy information from largely unverifiable data is crucial to the successful resolution of a case or issue.
A certificate in research methods offers students with a master’s degree—and in some cases just a baccalaureate degree—the ability to get a head start on the subject. While it is not a required prerequisite, it may make the completion of a PhD program a lot easier; at the same time, students with the certificate—even if they will never apply for admission to an advanced degree—outshine the competition in the workplace as they bring valuable skills to the table.
Schools Offering Research Certificates
University of Adelaide (Australia)
This Australian school offers a graduate certificate in online learning (higher education) that encompasses coursework in literacy technologies as well as the latest developments in educational research spread over four classes. This latter course in particular focuses on the changes being undergone by a wide array of research methods. While this certificate is primarily targeted at staff of the university, it is also open to applicants currently employed in academia or going into teaching. The cost is $1,500 (Australian) per class.
Nova Southeastern University
The Florida school offers a graduate certificate in qualitative research from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is a new program, which began in January of 2009. Offered entirely online, it consists of twenty-four credit hours, which breaks down into eight courses. The coursework deals with gaining an in depth understanding of qualitative research methods, appraising the use of them by others, and composing personal research in keeping with the findings. Candidates with a bachelor or master’s degree are welcome to apply for admission. The cost is $545 per credit hour.
Florida State University
This school offers a graduate certificate in institutional research. It consists of eighteen credit hours, which breaks down into six courses, and seeks to deepen the student’s understanding of national databases against the backdrop of education. The cost is $1,000 per course. Applicants must possess at least a bachelor’s degree.
Effects on Employability
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of market research is the most likely business opportunity for applicants with an on campus or online graduate certificate in research methods. Whether the certificate deals with institutional, qualitative, or educational research, the abilities to undertake significant data mining, analyze information as well as its sources, and combine them with a marketing background is a much sought after skill. In the absence of a master’s degree, a graduate certificate may still open the doors to technical positions that, thus far, are only open to applicants with the advanced degree.