FAQs

The UNC MATC program

Will my diploma specify that this is an "online" degree?

 Upon completion of the degree, you will receive a Master of Arts in Technology and Communication from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Your diploma will not indicate that your studies were completed online.

What kind of career services support is provided? What professional development opportunities exist for students?

 The UNC School of Journalism has a career services director who is available to MATC students. The program also has a private LinkedIn group to which job openings, professional development opportunities and networking discussions are posted.

How challenging is the online MATC degree at UNC?

 The MATC offers a rigorous and unique graduate-level curriculum of emerging theories and applications in technology and communication. Courses are designed to provide students with concepts and skills as well as a thorough grounding in research and critical thinking. Asynchronous discussion simulates the give and take of the on-campus seminar experience and it is where students and faculty alike share experiences and knowledge that builds on course content.

 

Can I take time off from my coursework once I enter the program?

 It is expected that students will take MATC courses in the prescribed order. If a student cannot progress, he or she risks not being able to complete the program. The MATC is designed as a cohort program, in which a group of students enters and advances through classes together.

How long will it take to earn the degree?

 Completion of the MATC should take 2 ½ years. The MATC is a 30-credit program consisting of nine three-credit courses and a three-credit final project (non-traditional thesis). There is a set curriculum, meaning there is a prescribed list of courses that are designed to be taken in order. The MATC has no electives. See the course schedule for a timeline.

Can students complete this degree while working?

 Yes. The program is aimed at working professionals. Students pursue the degree on a part-time basis, taking a maximum of two courses  per semester. In comparison, full-time programs have students taking four courses concurrently.

Course Structure and Management

Whom do I contact when I run into problems?

 MATC administrators and faculty are aware of challenges facing working professionals pursuing graduate studies on a part-time basis. The MATC academic director is available for advising and support with academic issues. Faculty are available for specific course-related questions. Technical support is available in-house and centrally through help.unc.edu.

Are there any specific computer programs, software or online applications I must have knowledge of to be successful as a student?

 Courses are designed to be accessible to people with a wide range of experience using computers. Students must be comfortable and responsive in their use of e-mail and the Internet. Students will become familiar with posting messages to a discussion forum in Sakai, and will use a blog, social media tools and other online applications for assignments. In-house support is available for using new technologies and overcoming technical hurdles. High-speed Internet access and a relatively new computer (two years old or less) are required.

 

Will I have access to UNC resources?

 MATC students have full access to Journalism School and UNC library resources. The Journalism School houses the Park Library, an in-unit library with a full-time library director. The UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries provide a central site to support online students. MATC students receive training on using library resources during the on-campus orientation.

Are there particular class times when I must be online for the courses or may I work on my own schedule?

 Most courses are taught using a fully asynchronous model, meaning there are no scheduled times all students need to be present “in class.” A few classes use synchronous technologies, like Adobe Connect, to allow students the opportunity to attend a live lecture, course discussion, or assignment critique. These sessions are set in advance, giving students time to adjust their schedules. The sessions also are taped for viewing later if students are not able to attend. There is no requirement that you are online at a specific time, but we have heard from students that they enjoy these sessions and the connection it affords with faculty members and fellow students.

How are courses taught online?

 Courses use online lectures, narrated slides, textbooks, case studies, blogs, social media tools and links to readings. Lively discussion boards simulate the give-and-take of the classroom. Courses are taught in an asynchronous format, meaning that students don’t have to be online at a specific time. While the program format is flexible, the degree is designed to be rigorous and challenging. Courses include strict deadlines for assignments and high standards for participation and performance. See Online Learning Essentials for myths about online learning and tips for success as an online student.

Admissions

What is the selection timeline? When will candidates be notified about their acceptance into the program?

All applicants being considered for admission will be contacted to set up an interview with the MATC admissions committee in late March or early April. These interviews will be conducted via Web conferencing. Students will be notified of their application status by mid-April.

How are graduate test scores, grades, letters of recommendations, and personal statements evaluated for the admissions process?

 The Admissions Committee considers each person’s entire application package when making admissions decisions. So, if one part of your application isn’t terribly strong, be sure to explain why in your written statement. Address how the other parts of your application provide evidence of your ability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program as well as how the MATC will benefit you. Proactively answer any questions that the Admissions Committee is likely to have about your previous work experience, academic performance, or GRE scores. Your entire application package should best represent your academic and professional abilities.

Is it possible to waive the GRE requirement?

 Applicants for any graduate degree program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication must submit GRE scores that are no more than five years old at the time of application.  Only those individuals who hold a research doctorate will be exempted from this requirement.

Financial Concerns

Is tuition tax deductible?

 In many cases, students can claim a tax credit or deduction for some or all of their higher education expenses. Consult a tax adviser or preparer for more details.

Is company/employer sponsorship available?

 Many of our students do find financial aid through company/employer scholarships and education programs.

Is financial aid available to online students? What types of financial aid are offered?

 Federal financial aid is available for MATC students who are enrolled a minimum of 4.5 hours per semester and who show financial need. The aid is typically limited to federal loans.  No scholarships, grants, assistantships or fellowships are currently available through the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information, please contact Client Services at the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Telephone hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST/EDT Monday through Friday. 919.962.8396

How do I qualify for in-state tuition?

 Accepted students who wish to be classified as a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes must complete and submit the Residence and Tuition Status Application with supporting documentation. More information is located on the Graduate School’s website.

I am an out-of-state student. How much is out-of-state tuition?

 The estimated program tuition for non-residents, based on 2013-2014 rates, is $39,660.  Tuition and fees are subject to change and generally increase each academic year.  Please see Tuition & Fees for more details and other program costs.

Do students living outside of North Carolina pay a different tuition rate?

 Yes. Students living outside of North Carolina must pay out-of-state tuition rates. Since UNC is a state-supported institution, resident tuition is subsidized by N.C. taxpayers, and the different rate scale affects distance as well as residential students.

What is the total cost of the program?

 Every year tuition is set by the N.C. General Assembly. Therefore, exact tuition figures are not available for future academic years. Tuition estimates are provided based on the rate for the current academic year. Tuition and fees are subject to change and generally increase each academic year.

The Certificate Option

Can I earn both the Certificate in Technology and Communication and the M.A. in Technology in Communication?

 The Certificate in Technology and Communication is for non-degree seeking students only. Courses taken in the certificate program may transfer into a degree program, like the MATC. However students enrolled in a master's or doctoral program cannot earn the certificate. It is possible to earn both the certificate and the MATC if the certificate is completed prior to enrolling in the master's degree program. Course credit from MEJO 711 and MEJO 713 from the certificate program will transfer credit into the M.A. program.

What is the time limit for transferring credit from courses taken in the Certificate in Technology and Communication?

 If admitted to the MATC, certificate students may transfer credit for MEJO 711: Writing for Digital Media and MEJO 713: Digital Data and Analytics into the degree program. The credit must have been earned within five years of admission to the MATC program. For example, students completing MEJO 711 or MEJO 713 in the 2011-2012 academic year or later may transfer those courses into the MATC if they begin the program in the 2016-2017 academic year.  For the 2017-2018 academic year, transfer credit will be accepted from the 2012-2013 academic year or later and so on.

How does the MATC affect the school’s online Certificate in Technology and Communication?

 The MATC builds on the success of the school’s online Certificate in Technology and Communication, which began enrolling students in spring 2003. The school continues to offer the certificate program separately from the MATC. Students who complete the certificate may apply to the MATC program. If admitted, certificate students may transfer credit for JOMC 711: “Writing for Digital Media” and JOMC 714: “Database and Web Research” into the degree program. The credit must have been earned within five years of admission to the MATC program.