Master of Distance Education and E-Learning (MDE) Program

UMUC Graduate School Catalog (MDE pp. 20-21)

Program Description

Distance education and e-learning have expanded rapidly in the past few years, not just in the public and private education sectors, but also in the training sectors of the government, the military, and for-profit and nonprofit businesses. The demand for qualified managers and leaders in the field is likely to create many new career opportunities. The Master of Distance Education and E-Learning (MDE) is designed to develop general knowledge and competencies in all aspects of both the business and technical issues related to distance education. The goal of the program is to produce individuals who are capable of managing distance education and e-learning enterprises within a wide variety of organizational structures.

Program Objectives

The program is designed to help students to

  • Develop and communicate a mission and vision for the implementation of distance education and e-learning within an organization.
  • Function effectively as leaders, managers, and team members within a distance education or training organization.
  • Develop strategic goals and business plans for distance education and e-learning within an organization.
  • Analyze and recommend an organizational distance education technology plan and manage the implementation of that technology in distance delivery.
  • Design, implement, and assess the necessary support services for a distance education or e-learning program.
  • Demonstrate competency in organizational and management processes, leadership and change management, information technology, business development, strategic action planning, problem solving, ethics, and social responsibility.

Program Overview

The curriculum requires 36 credits of coursework, including 15 credits of core courses, 18 credits of specialization courses, and a 3-credit capstone course.

Program Accreditation

UMUC’s Master of Distance Education and E-Learning program is accredited by the European Foundation for Management Development–Technology-Enhanced Learning (EFMD CEL). EFMD CEL is the highest international standard of technology-enhanced learning programs in the field of management education.


The Master of Distance Education and E-Learning offers three specializations, each covering subject areas relevant to today’s career fields. Each specialization helps prepare students for one of several possible career paths, depending on the student’s background and employer criteria.

Distance Education Policy and Management

The policy and management specialization focuses on the reasons why investment in education is so highly valued by governments and individuals and how distance education programs are budgeted and their costs evaluated. The core of this specialization examines the technology costs and economics of distance learning and other management competencies. More information about certificates, including gainful employment disclosures, is available at

Masters of Distance Education

Career Paths

  • Director of distance learning, director of extended education, access director, or director of continuing education
  • Project/program manager/director
  • Coordinator of online instruction
  • Financial advisor/account manager or financial analyst/financial manager
  • Distance learning librarian

Distance Education Teaching and Training

The objective of the teaching and training specialization is to educate managers about the demands placed on teaching personnel and trainers by emerging information and communications technologies. To deal with the specific teaching-related aspects of distance education, this specialization examines the instructional design process, as well as the integration of the appropriate selection of media. The specialization examines the technology-related aspects of distance learning and specific management-related issues such as intellectual property, accreditation, and quality assurance.

Career Paths

  • Manager of online teaching/tutoring/training
  • Online pedagogy expert
  • Coordinator of online instruction
  • Online librarian/resource manager
  • Program evaluator/educational consultant
  • Subject matter expert for distance education

Distance Education Technology

The distance education technology specialization is designed to train managers in the technology-related aspects of distance education program development, including setting up appropriate technology configurations, selecting tools, and managing the aspects of media integration and course design and development affected by technology. Managers are also made critically aware of the relationship of globalization and communication technologies, which influence distance education. The specialization provides a foundation in the history of media and technology in distance education, sets a framework for guiding appropriate technology choices, and provides an in-depth understanding of both asynchronous and synchronous technologies.

Career Paths

  • Technical director
  • Production manager
  • Technical expert/advisor/consultant
  • Coordinator of online instruction
  • Online course support specialist

Academic Relationship

The Master of Distance Education and E-Learning program is offered in partnership with Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, a leading German institution with extensive experience in distance education.

Dual Degree Option

Students who complete the Master of Distance Education and E-Learning may then complete one of the following degrees as part of a dual degree option:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Education in instructional technology
  • Master of Science in management

More information on dual degree programs is available on UMUC Graduate Catalog.

More information about certificates, including gainful employment disclosures, is available at