A New Way—and Good Reasons—to Go Back to School

A new program, URI Online, offers convenient and flexible certificate, graduate degree, and undergraduate degree completion programs to help students advance or shift their careers.

Yes, it’s true that the global pandemic forced most college students into online learning over the past year—and that most of them long for a return to traditional, in-person classes. But a newly launched program, URI Online, was built for students who are working professionals and who prefer or need the convenience and flexibility of online learning.

URI Online offers professional certificate programs geared toward people already in the workforce who want to gain new skills to advance their careers. Certificates in areas including cannabis studies, healthcare management, GIS and geospatial technologies, fisheries science, digital forensics, data science, and others, are geared toward helping students advance or shift their careers. Most certificate programs can be completed within two semesters.

“We offer programs that will equip students with the skills needed to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs,” says Jill Firtell, assistant director of online program development at URI. “Our programs build off of areas of expertise across the University and are aligned with industry sectors showing signs of growth. It is not just about getting a degree or a certificate, but instead about ensuring that our graduates have what they need to make a difference in their chosen field—whatever that may be.”

Students can also complete bachelor’s degrees through URI Online. An offering in communication studies is for students who started but did not finish their undergraduate degree or who are recent community college graduates. And the R.N. to B.S. program provides an opportunity for students to complete a nursing degree. Additional bachelor’s degree completion programs will be added in the future.

Finally, students can pursue master’s degrees in areas with high career growth—such as supply chain management and applied analytics, healthcare management, and cybersecurity—through URI Online, often obtaining certifications along the way that count toward the graduate degree. Additional master’s degree program offerings are planned.

Dana Amore ’91, Pharm.D. ’01, of Warwick, R.I., is a pharmacist for Stop & Shop. For her, URI Online’s certificate program in cannabis studies made sense. “I have a lot of patients who are using medicinal marijuana, CBD oils, and other cannabis products, or who are thinking about it. When they walk in with questions for me, as a pharmacy professional, I need to be able to give them answers,” she says. Amore is halfway through the program and expects to finish in May. She says that as a full-time professional, she appreciates the convenience and the flexibility of being able to, for the most part, set her own pace. •

—Tracey Manni