Cultural Resources Management (M.S.)

Distance Learning

The distance learning component of our graduate program is targeted to CRM professionals living outside Minnesota and working in locations without access to a career-appropriate university program. 

Examples include federal and tribal employees who are unable to leave their locations and state or contract archaeologists living outside of Minnesota. 

Enrolling as a distance learning student opens up an opportunity to obtain the graduate degree they otherwise would not have the chance to pursue. However, being a distance student comes with challenges that a traditional on-campus student does not face:

  • Class scheduling
  • Technological requirements
  • The need for a support network
  • Access to research material
  • A review process that can be used for a final culminating project like a research thesis 

Distance students may enroll either full time or part time. Financial aid requires specific minimum credits for enrollment. Contact the Financial Aid office for updated information.

Scheduling requirements

Our distance learning program has all of the same credit and culminating project requirements as our on-campus program.  

Distance students have the challenge of attending our classes at the times we offer them while also working at a regular job. Our distance learning students attend in real time with their on-campus classmates using an Internet connection. 

Our classes are not recorded for later viewing because real-time class participation is a requirement. As an example of a typical semester, here is our graduate course schedule for spring semester 2017. 

We realize that scheduling time to attend our classes while also working full time can present a significant challenge for most people. In order to make sure that distance students will be able to meet this commitment, we request a written statement from the student's employer or immediate supervisor that clearly indicates that the student will have time allotted during their weekly schedule to attend our classes via the Internet when we offer them. All classes are in Central time.

On-campus component

In addition to scheduling classes, distance students will need to visit the St. Cloud State University campus at least once, and preferably twice. The mandatory visit is for the final culminating project defense (e.g., thesis defense) and typically occurs within the first half of the final semester of study. The optional visit would happen before the defense and is to meet thesis committee members and hold the preliminary conference where the final project is proposed and the committee makes any recommendations before the student initiates the work. 

The culminating project proposal meeting can be scheduled as an online meeting if necessary. Upon completion of the degree, we encourage our distance learners to also attend the university graduation ceremony, but this is not a requirement.

Technological requirements

To be a distance learning student, you will need dedicated access to:

  • Reliable high-speed Internet with fast upload and download speeds
  • A computer with camera, high speed video card, good audio
  • The capability to run Adobe Connect software 

The Adobe Connect software works similarly to the Skype video call service but with many more features. You do not need to purchase Adobe Connect software as the online classrooms are set up by St. Cloud State and students simply access a URL to log in. 

Support network and research capability requirement

Another substantive challenge for our distance learners is the lack of a daily, personal support network of faculty members and other graduate students with whom to interact and learn. To overcome this, distance students who are already working as CRM professionals in a structured setting directly apply what they are learning in the classroom to their professional work.

In order to conduct thesis research off campus, distance learning students will need a professional structure that provides them access to adequate data, the ability to personally analyze and interpret those data, and a formal review process of the results in addition to the input provided by St. Cloud State graduate faculty committee members. 

The formal review process is an important part of the distance learner’s thesis because it provides professional oversight and independent evaluation of the results in a manner that cannot be accomplished by St. Cloud State on-campus faculty. 

In addition to the written statement affirming the student’s ability to attend our classes in real time, we also require distance learning applicants to address how their professional work environment will allow access to archaeological or other CRM resources for development of a culminating project and a structured formal review of that project by a CRM professional. Oftentimes distance learners add a local CRM professional to their committee as the outside reader. This person may serve as a local co-mentor throughout the student’s graduate education.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the CRM Archaeology graduate program director Mark Muñiz mpmuniz@stcloudstate.edu or 320-308-4162.