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November 7, 2023

Tips for Mastering Your Online MSMS Program

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 40% of all graduate students—anyone earning a qualification above the bachelor’s degree level—attended class entirely online in 2021. The accessibility and flexibility of online graduate education appeals to many students. That’s true of Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS) students at our partner universities, too. Our MSMS is available as a 100% online program at Jacksonville University, Ponce Health Sciences University (St. Louis campus) and Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Although online education is more convenient than in-person education, succeeding in an online MSMS program requires more than just attending virtual classes. It demands discipline, effective time management, and a proactive approach. Here are some valuable tips to make the most of your online master's degree journey.

Get Organized and Establish a Routine

Your instructors will distribute a syllabus before your classes start. Use it. Get a planner or create a dedicated digital calendar (or use a project management app) to plan out important dates, such as:

  • Tests and quizzes
  • Project and paper due dates
  • Live class meetings
  • Appointments with instructors and advisors

Once you have the main outline of each course, you can start planning milestones for each deadline—dedicated study time for tests, milestones for completing various stages of papers and projects. Keeping your study materials organized –and creating a schedule you can stick to—will save time and reduce stress.

Actively Engage with Your Classes

Sitting in front of a screen can feel passive, but our MSMS will challenge you to be active in your classes. Participate in discussions, forums, and group activities. You should also take notes. While you’ll have the ability to play and replay many of your lectures, there’s evidence that taking notes (either by hand or by typing them up) can help support better memory recall than no note-taking at all. Plus, taking notes can help you formulate better questions to ask.

Frequent, clear communication is key in an online environment. Engaging with peers and instructors not only enriches your learning but also helps build a network of connections that can be beneficial in your academic and professional journey toward medical school and beyond.

Pace Yourself to Keep Self-Motivation Strong

Being self-disciplined in online education is fundamental. Without the structure of a physical classroom, self-motivation becomes your driving force. Stay focused on your goals and remind yourself of the reasons why you embarked on this journey whenever you feel your motivation flagging.

Also remember to pace yourself. Burnout is a real hazard for all graduate students—especially medical students. Learning to cultivate self-care habits is an important skill that will help you get through the MSMS, through medical school, and through your career as a physician.

Utilize the Resources Available to You

Our online MSMS isn’t just a set of classes. It’s also a support network—one you should take advantage of while you’re studying. Make use of online libraries, discussion boards, and other supplementary materials provided by your program. These resources can enhance your understanding of subjects you find difficult.

You can also make use of our career advising and academic advising. Advising helps you evaluate your progress toward your goals and refine them. In addition to helping you build a list of medical schools to apply to, our advisors can also help you navigate challenges in preparing your application materials or preparing for the MCAT, as well as exploring other health profession pathways that may suit you.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of technical support for times when your computer lets you down!

Reflect and Evaluate

Our MSMS programs feature predictive analytics that can help you understand how your performance in your classes relates to performance on step one of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE Step 1). While the analytics can offer you very specific information about your strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to check in with yourself, as well.

Reflect not just on your learning, but also on how your goals and aspirations might be changing. Continuous self-assessment allows for necessary adjustments—adjustments you’ll need to succeed in your MSMS and beyond.

Find the Right Online MSMS for You

Ready to earn an online Master of Science in Medical Sciences with a Tiber Health university partner? Explore our list of university partners today to find one that suits your needs!

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