The university formally connected its online professional graduate schools through a brand name and website called USCNow on Friday.
The website has general information about USC’s online degree offerings, although the specific programs are run through individual schools, as with all graduate degrees.
Six schools currently offer online courses, and four more plan to add professional degree offerings online in the year.
This reflects a growing trend as, both nationally and at USC, more students are enrolled online.
According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, more than 5.6 million students were enrolled in one or more online courses, 1 million more than in 2009.
One of the university’s fastest-growing online programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching through the Rossier School of Education, has also seen exponential growth. The MAT@USC program enrolled 144 students during its first year, 2009. This year it enrolled 1,000 students, and program directors expect an enrollment of around 2,000 students in the upcoming year.
USC’s first distance education program was through the Viterbi School of Engineering in 1972. Since then, the school’s program has expanded to include 38 master’s degrees and five certificate programs.
The Davis School of Gerontology, which launched its course website AgeWorks.com in 2002, has five online programs, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science offers both a master’s degree and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Technology and the School of Pharmacy offers the same in regulatory science.
The School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work program launched in October and has 300 students currently enrolled.
In the fall, both the School of Policy, Planning and Development and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism will launch master’s degrees in Public Administration and Communication Management, respectively.
The Keck School of Medicine has begun developing an online program in public health. The Marshall School of Business has also started work on an online program for a master’s in business administration.
In a press release, Provost Elizabeth Garrett said she was excited USC could reach more students.
“We are excited that the online delivery of education eliminates geographic constraints on our core mission — to change lives through education,” Garrett said.