Liberty University was founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, Va., to provide a Christian-based higher education. Not long after in 1985, it launched its distance education program and has been a pioneer in online learning ever since. Thanks to its online enrollment numbers, Liberty is the nation’s eighth-largest four-year university, the largest private, four-year, nonprofit university in the U.S., and the largest Christian university in the world. Currently, there are more than 80,000 students studying through its online program, and another 12,000 students studying at its campus, according to the school.
In keeping with its religious principles, the school encourages a Christian worldview in and out of the classroom. It provides mission field opportunities worldwide, enforces a modest dress code, and requires attendance at convocations and chapels three times a week. Online students can even seek faith-based guidance through the school’s Online Ministries, where students can listen to the Tip of the Week or email a prayer request to the Life Resources department.
Through Liberty University Online, students can study one of more than 45 online degree programs and 100 concentrations at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, postgraduate, and certificate levels. All undergraduate programs are offered 100% online and include aviation, business, criminal justice, education, nursing, and psychology. At the graduate level, students can find programs in many of the same disciplines, such as business, education, and nursing, as well as counseling and sports management. These may vary in delivery format, meaning some programs may require students attend class on campus. At all education levels, students can find religious-based offerings, such as religion, Christian ministry, or divinity.
Liberty’s virtual environment uses Blackboard as its learning portal. The courses are constructed so that there are no required login times during the week, meaning students can complete assignments at their own pace — bearing in mind that they complete them by their professor’s deadline, of course. Some programs at the graduate level, such as Liberty’s master’s in human services, require that students take one- or two-week specialization courses on campus. So while most programs can be completed 100% online, keep in mind that some degrees may require on-campus attendance.
Students can interact with their fellow classmates and teachers through Blackboard by connecting through a live class chat or instant messaging when available. They are also encouraged to connect with their fellow classmates outside of the virtual class environment, whether through group work that necessitates interaction or by studying together. Those in the Lynchburg, Va., area are also encouraged to visit the campus to attend games featuring the school’s NCAA Division 1 sports teams, visit the student center, or even take a class that requires on-campus meet-ups so that they can further connect with Liberty and its community.