Center for Distance Learning

Frequently Asked Questions about Distance Learning

Listed below are the most common questions about distance learning at Empire State College.

What is the Center for Distance Learning?

The Center for Distance Learning (CDL) is part of the State University of New York's Empire State College. CDL offers associate and bachelor's degree programs that are completely online, allowing you the flexibility to complete your degree while balancing a busy lifestyle.

Over 500 courses are available, offering close interaction with instructors, classmates and academic support services.

Do I have to attend an onsite orientation before enrolling in an online degree program?

Once accepted, the orientation is fully online

To learn more, why  not attend a CDL telephone information session?

How are courses delivered?

Courses are accessible online using a standard Web browser.

Learning materials vary by course, but typically include:

  • traditional books and textbooks
  • eTextbooks
  • audio and video resources
  • specialized software (for some courses)
  • online discussion forums.

Additional learning resources are available in our online library.

How do I submit my assignments? How do I take tests?

You can expect to have assignments for each of your courses. Assignments in the online courses are submitted electronically to the course instructor, including research papers, online tests, projects and other kinds of learning activities.

In rare cases a proctored exam may be required in a certain concentration (for example, accounting) or to verify the individual completing the work.

Do I need to own a computer to take courses at a distance?

Reliable access to a computer and the Internet is required, usually a minimum of two to three times per week.

Please see our technology knowledgebase for the recommended computer setup to use Empire State College’s technology resources and educational services.

I do not live in the United States. Can I enroll in distance learning?

Yes, you can earn a degree online from anywhere in the world through Empire State College's Center for Distance Learning.

See international student admissions for more information about admission requirements.

Where can I learn more?

Visit Why Empire State College? to learn about:

  • designing your degree
  • flexible study options
  • faculty mentors
  • transfer credit
  • credit for prior college-level learning.

How do I apply?

Visit Admissions for full information about applying to Empire State College.

What if I just want to take a few courses?

If you would like to study at Empire State College, but do not plan to pursue a degree, you still can earn credit for online courses by enrolling as a nonmatriculated student.

Nonmatriculated study can be an excellent way to hone your skills, train for employment, earn credentials and increase your marketability.

As a nonmatriculated student, you have the same opportunity to study in areas of your interest as matriculated students. Nonmatriculated students do not need to complete the college's admissions application and are not eligible for financial aid.

Learn more about nondegree study at Empire State College.