Distance learning provider Global University Alliance (GUA), which officially launches its programmes next month, is hoping to attract more working adults seeking an edge in an increasingly competitive employment market. Most of the online courses offered by GUA are at Master's level and cover a range of disciplines, including management, education, environment, business, engineering and marketing. Together with scmp.com, it is offering two Master's degree scholarships starting early next month at either the University of South Australia, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology or George Washington University. GUA chief executive April Swando Hu expects the competition to arouse the interest of many future customers. 'scmp.com subscribers are aspiring individuals who want to try different ways of learning,' she said. Because of the great flexibility allowed in online learning, it is possible to finish a master's degree in under 18 months, Ms Hu said. 'In an online environment, one could finish up to six courses in one semester, rather than the four typically completed on campus programmes.' Information on the 100-plus courses on offer is available on the GUA Web site at www.gua.com . 'We also provide reminders for students who have not done their work for a long time,' Ms Hu added.