AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Augusta University Online is officially accepting applicants for its first 3 graduate programs. These are the first programs at AU that will be done completely online.

Since the rise of for profit online universities, many students hoped for and requested online degree programs from Augusta University. Now, their wish has finally been granted.

“I think the demand for online education has been around for a while. With COVID that demand just took off,” said Dr. Marc Austin, the Associate Provost and Dean of AU Online.

He told NewsChannel 6 that when they were creating the online school- they made a point to set it apart from other online colleges.

“The difference is, we’re a bit like a private school education, but operating in a public school model. And that is very different from any of the models that we’ve seen out the specifically from some of those for profits.”

All three of the new online programs are graduate level degrees that were chosen for a specific reason. They are the Master of Public Health, the Master of Science in Information Security Management, and the Master of Education in Instruction.

“We wanted something in health, because really when you think about Augusta University, we are the health center for the state of Georgia,” explained Dr. Austin. “The other is cyber. We’re co-located, basically, with Fort Gordon, that’s cyber central command. And the third is just the importance of education. That program is the Masters of Education In Instruction. It’s designed to teach the teachers of the future.”

And while these may be the first three programs, many more will follow.

“Our plan is…this is the beginning really. This is the first leg of a long marathon. So, our goal is to get to 25 graduate programs in the next 5 years.” Dr. Austin said.

Classes will be kept small, at just 25 students per session.

“The design is for them to get to know each other. We know that peer to peer learning is just as valuable as learning from your faculty. But we want to make sure that they are always feeling connected to the university, specifically their faculty. i think in online, that’s a really important piece of it.”

Augusta University Online is now accepting student applications for the Fall 2023 semester.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.