Graduate Education Degrees - Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Education Degrees FAQs

Graduate Education Degrees

Is EKU accredited?

EKU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS*). This regional accrediting body is recognized by both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA**) and the United States Department of Education (USDE). Regional accreditation is the highest level of accreditation available.

Will I ever be required to come to campus?

All but 10 credit hours of the EKU partially online paralegal program can be completed entirely online.  In order to maintain ABA approval, students are required to participate in 10 credit hours of traditional instruction. These hours are earned through an intensive two-week on-campus residency in Richmond, Kentucky -- which can be completed all at once or broken up over two summer terms.

While on campus, students have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students, network with working paralegals, and interact with faculty, attorneys and sitting judges. Course subject matter covers legal research and writing, legal ethics, strategies for a successful paralegal job search, and additional legal subject matter. (Some degree paths also require an internship at a location of the student’s choice.)

Does the tuition differ for in-state and out-of-state students?

No. All EKU Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency status.

Will I be eligible to sit for the Certified Paralegal Exam with this degree?

Yes. Because EKU’s partially online paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association, those who successfully complete the program are qualified to sit for the Certified Kentucky Paralegal Exam, as well as the Certified Paralegal Exams in most other states. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure the degree meets all the qualifications for their respective state Certified Paralegal Exam.

Will I be able to continue working while I earn my degree?

EKU Online programs are designed with busy working professionals in mind. We offer a convenient eight week class format and customizable pace to allow you to complete your degree quickly and according to your schedule. The majority of our students have families and work full-time, so sacrificing work and personal obligations is not an option. Your advisor will work with you each semester to find the right course load for you.

I’ve noticed the program is ABA-approved. What does that mean?
EKU's paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association and meets the guidelines set forth by the ABA. The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Paralegals states that its purpose in approving programs is "to foster high quality paralegal education and training and the development of educational standards." Each ABA-approved paralegal program goes through a rigorous approval process and is subject to ongoing review by ABA representatives, including periodic on-site visits and review of detailed reports submitted by the program.  

Students who graduate from an ABA-approved course of paralegal studies are automatically qualified to sit for the Certified Kentucky Paralegal Exam.

What will I be doing during the required on-campus residency at the end of the program?

While on campus, residency students will take courses covering legal research and writing, legal ethics, strategies for a successful paralegal job search, and additional legal subject matter. Students will have numerous hands-on opportunities to utilize the Richmond, Kentucky Courthouse vault, meet with sitting judges in the courtroom, collaborate with fellow students, network with working paralegals and interact with faculty.

How much interaction will I have with my instructors and classmates?
Our professors welcome and encourage a high degree of engagement and feedback from online students. You will be able to communicate with your professors and classmates via chat, e-mail, blackboards and forums. Programs often see students set up Facebook groups for discussion, group work and study. EKU Online also offers a host of excellent online tutoring options. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

Is an online degree different from a traditional degree?
The only difference between an online degree and a traditional degree is that the course work was completed online. Upon graduation, you will hold a degree from Eastern Kentucky University, and you will have all the rights and privileges of traditional EKU alumni.

What is an online course like?

EKU uses The Blackboard Learning System, an internet-based course management system that provides a website for every class. Blackboard lets students and instructors participate in class activities online. The system offers online storage for course materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, online quizzes, grades and more.

You will log in to this system to access your courses. Professors use a combination of strategies and techniques to ensure for a high level of interaction and instructor feedback, including mini-lectures on video, instructional videos, 3-D modeling, PowerPoint presentations, discussion boards and reading assignments. 

Every course will be presented in Blackboard, which means you will always work within a standardized course layout and navigation system. This will allow you to devote your time to the coursework rather than the technology. Click here to take a virtual tour of Blackboard and explore the resources available.

What type of technology will I need to participate in an online degree program?

You will need a computer with high bandwidth Internet access (not a dial-up connection), a Flash player and speakers. It is recommended that you use Mozilla Firefox as your primary browser when working with the system. Some courses will have additional requirements. The EKU tech support team is always available to answer any technical questions you may have as an online student.

Can I transfer into an EKU Online program from another institution?
Eastern Kentucky University awards transfer credit for courses completed at regionally accredited colleges and universities. Up to 90 credit hours may be transferred from other institutions, however; students must earn a minimum of 15 credit hours for associates programs and 30 credit hours for bachelor’s programs through EKU to be awarded a degree from the institution.

The EKU Student Outreach and Transition Office has online resources that can help you determine which credits may transfer. Use their Transfer Equivalency Course Search to look for matches among the courses we currently have on file. If your specific course is not on the list, it is still eligible for review. Please contact an enrollment advisor for more information about transferring credit.

How much does the online degree program cost?
Click here for current tuition rates. Note that textbooks, lab fees and technology fees are not included and will vary by course.

Is financial aid available for online students?
Students pursuing online degrees at Eastern Kentucky University may also qualify for federal financial aid (loans and grants), private loans, employer tuition reimbursement and military benefits. The EKU Financial Aid Office can assist you with questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federal loans. The EKU Scholarship Office offers additional information that can help you pay for college.

What are the admission requirements for my program?
To apply for undergraduate admission, students must meet one of four criteria:

  • Cumulative high school grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale OR
  • ACT composite score of 20 or SAT combined verbal/critical reading score of 950 or higher OR
  • 24 hours of transfer credits from a regionally accredited institution and a grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale

Graduate admission varies by program. Please check with your program of interest for requirements.

When are the online classes taught?
EKU Online degree programs offer classes on your schedule.  With relatively few exceptions, you will log in at your convenience and will not be expected to be at your computer at a certain time each day. Students can work at a pace that works for them, as long as homework assignments and exams are completed by the instructors’ deadlines.

Online courses are offered in two 8-week terms in the fall and spring semesters and two 6-week terms in the summer.  This accelerated schedule allows you to focus on two classes per term and still carry a full-time load over the course of the semester. There are approximately six start dates each calendar year.

Can I take one or two courses online to satisfy a requirement without enrolling in an online degree program?
EKU does offer some online courses that can be taken independently from a fully-online degree program. For more information, contact the chair of the department for the course you need.

If I am enrolled in an on-campus degree program at EKU that is also offered online, how do I switch to the fully online program?
If your on-campus program is offered 100% online, you can switch to the online degree program.  Most of the online classes include video instruction from the professors teaching the class, assignments, discussion board questions, quizzes and exams. Everything is available through Blackboard.  You can learn from the same on-campus faculty and earn the same degree as an online student.

There are some differences between the online and on-campus programs. Online courses are offered in two 8-week terms in the fall and spring semesters and two 6-week terms in the summer.  This accelerated schedule allows you to focus on two classes per term and still carry a full-time load over the course of the semester. Contact us at 859-622-8224 or online at for assistance in switching to the online program.  

Full-time student status is required for financial aid and other purposes. How do I maintain that as an EKU Online student? 
Online courses are taught at an accelerated pace. Generally, classes last for 8 weeks Fall A, Fall, B, Spring A and Spring B. Classes run for 6 weeks in Summer A and Summer B. Those seeking status as full-time students should take 2 courses, or 6 hours, during each session. Two courses in Fall A and 2 courses in Fall B would give a student a total of 12 hours, or full-time status, for the fall semester, for example. The same rules apply for the summer terms.

Are tutoring and library resources available to EKU Online students?
EKU Online also offers a host of excellent online tutoring options, including SMARTThinking, PASS and others. Our tutoring options are online and flexible to fit a busy working student’s schedule.

EKU Library resources are also available, regardless of location. Much of what is needed to conduct research can be found on the Library website, including ability to chat or text with a librarian, search the library catalog, or search hundreds of online resources, even from home. The library can UPS resources to you if you live outside the EKU service area and are enrolled in EKU classes. Even more, if you need a book or article the library does not own, they can order it for you.

Learn more about Distance & Online Learning resources on the library website.

What is the difference between regional and national accreditation?
Regional accreditation is the highest level of accreditation available. Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS*). This regional accrediting body is recognized by both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA**) and the United States Department of Education (USDE).

Students can be confident that credits earned at one regionally accredited school will transfer to other regionally accredited universities. This is especially important if you plan on transferring or continuing your education. It is also important to look for other credentials that may set a program apart. For example, the EKU Online paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association and meets the guidelines as set forth by the ABA, which means students can sit for the certified paralegal exam upon graduation.

 The six regional accrediting agencies are:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Frequently Asked Questions – MAT

I'm not sure if teaching is for me. Can I "try" teaching before enrolling in the MAT program?
Yes. EKU offers the Try Teachingprogram that allows you to spend one or two weeks in a K-12 classroom, at no cost, to see if you really want to make the career change.

If I am accepted to EKU's Graduate School, am I automatically accepted in the M.A.T. program?
No. An applicant must complete both the Graduate School application requirements and the MAT program requirements to be considered for admission to the MAT program.

Should I take the PRAXIS CASE exam OR the GRE for admission to the MAT program?
That depends on your undergraduate GPA.  Please review the admission criteria for more details.  As part of the transcript review process, an academic advisor will help you determine the correct admission exams. The Praxis CASE is a pre-professional skills test similar in form to the ACT.  The fee for the Praxis CASE is $130. The fee for the GRE is $160.  Either exam may be scheduled by visiting

What is the PRAXIS II exam and why do I have to take it?
The PRAXIS II exams are national standardized tests for teacher certification. Passing scores on the PRAXIS II exams are required by the state of Kentucky in order to become a certified teacher. Please refer to specific PRAXIS requirements listed under the middle and secondary M.A.T. application requirements.

Applicants ONLY take the Praxis II content exam(s) for admission. Some content areas have one exam, others have two exams. Check here for specific requirements.  Applicants DO NOT need to take the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PLT) for admission. This exam will be taken at the END of the MAT program in order to earn teacher certification.

When are the MAT courses offered?
MAT professional core courses are offered 100% online.  Content area coursework is available either online or in a hybrid format. As this is a teacher licensure program, clinical preparation is required.  EKU's College of Education contracts with districts throughout Kentucky and nationally to arrange clinical placements and mentorship plans.  You can anticipate spending a minimum of 200 hours in assigned classrooms during your degree program prior to a full semester of student teaching.  Option 6 candidates in Kentucky are eligible to count work experience for required clinical experiences.

Can I teach while I am a student in the MAT program?
After admission to the program and completion of EGC 820, candidates can work as temporary provisionally certified teachers (Rank III – Option 6) for up to 3 years while they remain actively enrolled in the MAT program.

Can I work at a job other than teaching in the MAT program?
The MAT program is a demanding graduate program, but candidates have been able to fit their work schedules around their clinical placements and coursework. 

All candidates must complete the student teaching practicum. During this semester-long practicum, the MAT candidate is a "student teacher" and must report to their assigned public school during regular school hours Monday through Friday.  Special arrangements are made for MAT candidates that are teaching full-time with temporary provisional certification so that they can meet the MAT program requirements within their regular teaching duties.

What are the tuition costs at Eastern Kentucky University?

The EKU Online MAT tuition rate for 2017-2018 is $500 per credit hour.

What kind of financial aid is available for MAT candidates?
At this time, there are no scholarships specifically for MAT candidates. But EKU's Financial Aid office can provide guidance in applying for general scholarships and financial aid. Additional scholarships may be available through the College of Education.  Go to this website and scroll to the bottom for Student Scholarship information.

Graduate assistantships are also available; application information is available from the Graduate School.

Is there a research component in the M.A.T. program?
Yes. MAT candidates must complete an action research project. Candidates will write a proposal for this project in their first MAT course, refine their proposal prior to their practicum and conduct research during their practicum. In the last course of the degree, the MAT candidate will write their final research report and present their findings to a graduate committee.

What if I already hold a Master's and/or Doctorate degree in my content area? Can I get teaching certification without getting an additional Master's degree?
The MAT admission committee can review your education and may be able to recommend a certification-only program. Please contact the alternative certification specialist, at (859) 622-1828 or for more details.

After I earn teacher certification through the MAT program, can I teach in a state other than Kentucky?
Yes. Kentucky teacher certification can be transferred to other states through reciprocity agreements with state teacher certification agencies. Requirements vary from state to state. Check the specific requirements of the state to which you already live or may wish to move.