Middle Tennessee State University has nearly doubled the number of online degree options, reflecting the institution’s commitment to develop and launch new and in-demand learning opportunities for those seeking the flexibility of digital course delivery.

MTSU Online now offers 54 total online programs for students, an increase of 86% since 2020, Provost Mark Byrnes, the university’s chief academic officer, announced Monday on WKRN’s Local on 2.

“MTSU has nearly doubled the number online degree options over the past three years, guided by industry demand and the needs of Tennessee’s workforce,” Byrnes said. “With top-notch programs and outstanding student support, we keep the needs of our students — and a focus on their success in promising careers — front and center.”

Metro Nashville Police Detective Chris Brennan joined Byrnes on the show and shared how MTSU Online helped him in August receive his bachelor’s degree, finishing an educational goal he started almost 30 years ago. Recruited by the department before graduating, he picked up more college credits as he progressed in his career but needed help in connecting his work toward a degree.

Byrnes said MTSU Online showed Brennan how his training and certifications with Metro Nashville Police could give him a leg up on finishing his degree, using a program called Prior Learning Assessment. It allows working adults to earn up to two years of college credit for learning acquired from career work and experiences.

Brennan was a patrol officer for seven years until 2001. Over the next nine years, he served on the department’s crime scene unit and became a detective. Since 2010, he’s been assigned to the Specialized Investigations Division tech unit, where he utilizes technology to monitor cameras, conduct surveillance, forensically process digital evidence, and support other investigative teams.

Because of his work experience, Brennan was able to earn almost 40 hours of college credit from prior learning assessments. “I don’t know if I ever would have finished if not for the PLA,” Brennan said. “I was able to identify the points in my career that would maximize my credit.”  

Vice Provost Brian Hinote, whose portfolio includes MTSU Online, said the university’s emphasis on services like PLA, as well as individualized degree plans for online students, has helped many students like Brennan reach their educational goals.

“With our ongoing expansion in distance education, MTSU Online is committed to providing students with a wide variety of quality academic programs to expand their current and future career options,” he said.

Some of the new online offerings include a Master of Science in finance; a Master of Business Administration with a focus on strategic marketing analytics; and bachelor’s degrees in music business, leisure and sport management, and criminology.

MTSU, the No. 1 choice for higher education in Greater Nashville, has been a leader in helping adult students reach their educational and career goals, said Trey Martindale, the university’s chief online learning officer.

“Our online programs have many support services geared toward adult students and their unique needs,” he said. “We understand adult students, and our programs and services are designed for their success.”

MTSU Online is also a favorite option for many of the university’s on-campus students. More than half of the university’s currently enrolled students are taking one or more online courses. Almost 60% of MTSU’s summer school enrollment is entirely online.

Go to mtsu.edu/online for more information about the university’s online options, including prior learning assessment.