MU first in nation to offer online teaching program for doctors

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is the first school in the nation to offer an excusively-online master's degree program for physicians who want to teach.

The program began offering online classes during the fall 2016 semester. 

Mizzou Online Spokesperson Stacy Snow said the program has been offered in-person for about 40 years, but it is now being offered online to accommodate doctors' busy schedules.  

"Having it in an online format gives a little bit more freedom to be able to take the coursework more on your schedule and when you can fit it in."

Snow said the program is semester-based.

"It goes along the time line of a regular semester." Snow said.

In-state tuition is offered to any student who is accepted into the program.

"Regardless of your residency, when you're a graduate online student at Mizzou, you pay in-state tuition,” Snow said. 

Program Director Erik Lindbloom said students will typically take two courses per semester, finishing the program in five semesters.

"They're able to keep their regular full-time positions, usually as a practicing physician, while they're also doing the coursework."

Lindbloom said although the master's program is not necessary to become a faculty physician, many physicians want the extra education to be prepared for the future. 

"You can become a faculty physician right out of training after your residency, but I think a lot of physicians are looking for more training to be better teachers, perhaps be innovators, developers of curriculum, leaders in the dean's office, those sorts of positions," Lindbloom said. 

Lindbloom said the program allows doctors to teach a variety of subjects and students. 

"The fun thing, I find, about medical education is you can teach a variety of different levels of learners," Lindbloom said. "You can teach medical students, residents, fellows, fellow faculty members looking for expertise in other areas, so, we find that our graduates, and my colleagues, have done different types of education throughout their career."

Lindbloom said there are not enough physicians who are also interested in teaching.

"There is a great need across the country for physicians who want to teach and want to do research."

Lindbloom said the program helps put physicians on the path to success.

"Not only would this program prepare you to be a good educator and be a good researcher, but eventually be a leader in your field."