Yes, you can take an individual college course online

July 7, 2016

Capella University offers degrees ranging from bachelor’s to doctorates, as well as a number of certificate programs.

But what if you just need one specific class? Capella might be able to help you out there, too, both in the undergraduate and graduate realms.

Enrollment Specialist Kevin Vogel shares the details.

Purpose of individual college courses

As it turns out, single courses account for a significant percentage of overall Capella offerings, with courses in degree programs also being available to those seeking just a single course. “In the average quarter, the University offers over 900 courses, and many of them are available to students not in a degree program,” says Vogel.

Who takes these kinds of courses? “About 80% of students taking single courses at Capella are in the counseling field,” says Vogel. “They need specialized courses or credits to apply for or renew their counseling licenses. Many already have a master’s in counseling or related fields and just need this one criterion to seek out licensure.”

The next largest group taking individual courses is in the education field—teachers and administrators who need continuing education credits in specific content areas. Others are completing a degree at a different institution. “They’re looking for a course they need to finish their degree, and it’s not being offered when they need it at their school,” Vogel explains. “So they take the class at Capella and transfer the credits.”

A growing segment of students in the single-course realm is nurses. “We’re finding it’s very common for nurses to need a single course in order to advance in a certain direction,” Vogel notes.

As these courses are taught as part of a degree program as well, all courses are taught by Capella faculty.

Applying for an individual course

Applying for a single course is a much quicker and easier process than applying for a degree program. But there’s one important caveat: Students who need just one class for licensure reasons, or to complete a degree program elsewhere, need to do their homework first before applying.

It’s critical to find out if the credits they’re looking for from Capella are transferable to the relevant institution. “We can’t guarantee that your state licensing board or other educational institution is going to accept the content of the course we’re offering,” Vogel says. “Before enrolling, be sure to discuss the course’s content with the licensing board or other school, so you know before you start that it is likely to help you move forward.”

Once that’s been accomplished, the process is simple, and the online application takes about 5-7 minutes. Students may need to provide an unofficial transcript, but assuming the applicant is properly qualified, the process from beginning the online application to acceptance can take just a few business days. Vogel notes, “We have enrollment specialists on staff, some of whom work solely with individual courses, so students who have questions or concerns should definitely reach out to us.”

Financial aid and individual courses

“Something people need to know up front is that federal financial aid is only available to people in a degree program, not for those taking a single course, or those taking a single course at Capella to fulfill a requirement at another institution,” says Vogel.

But there are a number of other options for potential students to explore. “Capella does offer some discounts in partnership with different organizations, or for people with military backgrounds, and we may be able to set up a payment plan, too,” he says.

One last piece of advice

Vogel says the number one question he gets about individual courses is if they will qualify the student for licensure. He reiterates that prospective students need to get that settled with the licensing board before starting a course. “We’ll help any way we can,” he says. “If students can tell us what content the board needs, and when they need to have the course completed, we’ll help them through our course offerings to find out if there’s a fit.”

Learn more about Capella’s available individual online courses in undergraduate and graduate programs.

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