Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

From PROSPECTIVE Graduate Students

Is work experience required?
Although work experience is not necessary to get into the program, it does bring an added dimension to the classroom, both in terms of what the student contributes to and receives from the class. Thus it is preferable for a student to have work experience. But it is not required and will not adversely affect the admission decision. However, experience is important when the student begins looking for a job after graduation. Experience helps students either get a job or get a better job. Thus, we strongly encourage students with no experience to gain work experience while they are in the program.

Should I pursue the MBA or the MSA ?
Comparing the MBA and MSA degrees is a little like comparing apples to oranges because they each serve a different purpose. If you want to be a CPA, you want to be in an MSA program. The MSA degree is designed to prepare you to pass the CPA exam and a career in accounting. Not necessarily public accounting: Certainly, there are many CPAs in business and industry. If you don’t want to be a CPA, the MBA program is beneficial for those who need advanced business and management knowledge and skills. Our accredited program is available through online and on-campus courses. The MBA is much broader in scope and prepares students for a wide range of careers in any industry. Its purpose is to provide professional training to students for careers as effective and responsible administrators. Thus, this program lends itself very well to online delivery, accommodating great distances and a large number of schedules. If you are asking the question which degree carries more weight – it depends on the context in which you are asking. If someone is hiring a public accountant or the CFO of a company is hiring a Director of Accounting, the MSA is clearly superior. If someone is hiring a marketing person for a company or the general manager of a manufacturing company, then the MBA probably has the edge.

What differences are there between the campus-based and online programs?
In regards to program specifics, the College of Business does not differentiate between delivery methods. Your program will be the same regardless of whether online or face-to-face. This includes admission criteria, application deadlines, and class requirements. You can mix delivery methods in a semester, or change from semester to semester. Please note that tuition waivers and graduate assistantships are not available to online students. Also note that online classes will require a proctor for exams. The delivery method will be determined at the time of registration.

What can I expect in an online class?
There is very little difference between the online classes and the face-to-face classes aside from the obvious fact that you’re not physically in class. With few exceptions, the same professor that teaches the face-to-face class also teaches the online class. The course content, the volume of work, the textbook, homework, assignments, etc. are the same. You still interact with your professor and classmates, only in the online class the interaction is via email, chat rooms, and threaded discussions. Your professor may also require group projects and team activities, you just move information electronically rather than meeting in the graduate lounge or library. Blackboard is the primary means of disseminating information regardless if you’re in the face-to-face class or the online class.

Most professors require at least a midterm and final exam that require a proctor. Exams may be paper-based or computer-based at the discretion of the professor. More information can be found on UNCOnline.

In online classes, you do things in “bands” of time. For example, you may have from Monday morning 8am to Wednesday afternoon 5pm to take a quiz. If you work second shift at a manufacturing facility and 3am after work is when you study then you can log in and take the quiz at a time that is convenient for you. Typically, major project and paper deadlines have specific dues dates The most important issue concerning online classes is self-control. Students need to be honest with themselves and ask “How disciplined a person am I?” The volume of work is greater than what most people were used to at the undergraduate level. It doesn’t take very long at all to fall behind in a graduate class. On the other hand, if you work well without the “classroom deadline” or if you work at a pace that’s faster than the class average, you may find online classes very attractive. The advantage here is that you can work when you want to, completing your coursework at the time of day or night that works best with your schedule. The amount of time required for both the face-to-face classes and Internet classes are very close. You’ll need 10-15 hours of work a week for first year classes (numbered under 6300) and 15-20 hours per week for second year classes (over 6300).

Will classes from my current school transfer into my ECU MBA program?
We need to distinguish between the terms “waiver” and “transfer.” The MBA degree consists of two components – the foundations component and the common body of knowledge component.

Foundations classes (the group of 7 classes that is the equivalent to a general business undergraduate degree) may be waived on a course-by-course, case-by-case basis. Students do not receive credit for waived classes; the classes are just not a part of the student’s curriculum. Predominately, waivers are based on a student’s previous course work and performance. We look at all previously completed course work from all regionally accredited universities, community colleges, technical colleges, junior colleges, etc. to determine waivers. Therefore, some courses from your current school may allow you to waive our MBA foundations courses and reduce your overall program.

The term “transfer” refers to taking a class at another institution and receiving credit for the grade and hours when satisfying part of the student’s common body of knowledge component of his or her ECU MBA curriculum requirements. The CBK component is the group of 8 classes that go beyond the foundations level. Every student must complete this group of classes. However, up to one third of a student’s program (after waivers have been subtracted) may transfer into a student’s program if the classes were completed at another AACSB accredited institution and the classes taken at the other school are sufficiently close to the classes in the ECU program. Thus, students receive credit when a class transfers into his or her program.

Are there scholarships?
Absolutely! Each year we give out over $300,000 in scholarships to our graduate students! There many opportunities or graduate students to apply for a scholarship.  We also offer a number of graduate assistantships for each term.  Federal Financial Aid is also available.

What happens after I have been accepted?
Once you have been admitted to the program, make sure to read all emails and attachments sent to you by the COB and the Graduate School. Activate your student accounts. Complete the Pirates Aboard Orientation program in Blackboard. Then, call the office to schedule an appointment with your MBA advisor about class registration. Together, you will determine the classes that will be appropriate for you to take during your first semester. Your advisor is available throughout your program to assist with class selection, registration, and other needs.

From CURRENT Graduate Students

Who is my advisor?

How many classes should I take each semester?
Based on the comments of many students in the past, if you are working a 40 hour job, you can probably handle 2 classes. If you work 20 hours or less a week, then 3 are probably fine. If your 40 hour job is really 60 hours, one class will be plenty. You’ll need 10-15 hours of work a week for the first year classes (numbered under 6300) and 15-20 hours per week for the second year classes (over 6300).

When are MBA classes offered?
All required MBA foundation courses and common body of knowledge courses are offered online in both fall and spring semesters and during summer sessions. Most foundations and all common body are offered on-campus in fall and spring semesters. Business electives are offered fall, spring, and summer sessions on a rotating basis.

Spring and fall classes are scheduled either one night session per week (6:30-9:30pm) Monday through Thursday or two afternoon sessions per week, either Mon/Wed or Tue/Thu. There are no Friday or weekend classes. In addition, all business foundations and common body of knowledge classes are available online so that the entire program may be completed without visiting campus if a student chooses.

How do I access my online class?
Blackboard is the primary means of disseminating information to students. Use your PirateID and passphrase to log into your Blackboard account. You may reach the Blackboard login site at You may want to bookmark the Blackboard login site as you will need to check your Blackboard courses daily.

How are tests administered in an online course?
Exams are either paper-based or delivered online via Blackboard. All online classes will have at least one proctored exam; most classes will have more than one. You must either find a proctor in your area that meets the approval of the UNC Online Proctoring Network, or you may use the proctoring office at ECU. We strive to make the process of finding a proctor as easy as possible.

How do I access my email?
You log into all ECU electronic resources (email, Blackboard, PiratePort) using your PirateID and passphrase. Information about your PirateID and default passphrase will be forwarded to you by the University in separate mailings.

Email is the primary means of contact. ECU faculty and administration use only ECU student email accounts.

It is assumed that you have received and read your email messages within 24-hours of the time the message was sent. You may reach the email login site at

What is the difference between my ECU ID and Pirate ID? How are they used?
The Pirate ID is also referred to as your username.  This is how you are identified for logging into most computing resources at ECU.  It is made up of your last name, first letter(s) of your first name, and the two-digit year that you first enrolled at ECU. Your Pirate ID can be found in your Admissions letter.  You can also find your Pirate ID by going to and searching for yourself. Your email address will be displayed.  Your Pirate ID is the first part of your email address (

You have also been assigned a unique “ECU ID” that identifies you as a student at East Carolina University. Your ECU ID – also known as your Banner ID, but different that your Pirate ID – will be required for very important functions such as dropping courses.

Helpful Hint: If you forget your ECU ID or passphrase go to and answer your security questions to gain access to your ECU ID, change your passphrase, and/or unlock your account!

Where can I get technology help?
The IT Help Desk, online at offers technical assistance to ECU students including software support, answers to general technology-related questions, getting connected to the university network and more.  Phone Support: 252-328-9866 or Toll-Free 1-800-340-7081