What is an Accelerated Degree Program?

An accelerated degree is an option for many different types of students to consider. In this type of program, students are able to take advantage of several options for completing a degree at a faster rate than in a traditional post-secondary degree program, offering benefits for those who need or who are looking for a different type of collegiate experience.

Curriculum Plans

One of the ways that an accelerated program might work, for non-traditional students in particular, is by taking advantage of the option some institutions have for evaluation of life experience and previous work experience for credits toward graduation. At the beginning of an undergraduate program, students will be tasked with completing a portfolio or other project that showcases how skills that have been accumulated previously apply to the objectives of a specific course. Administrators are then able to apply that to credit for a course, shortening the length of completing a degree.

Many times, this eliminates general education requirements, allowing students to focus on upper level courses in a major field of study such as business, marketing, communications, or mathematics. The shorter timeframe is beneficial for a number of reasons, but it can especially be attractive for a student who is working, has a family, or needs an option outside of the traditional degree program format.

Mode of Delivery and Length of Courses

Completing an accelerated program to earn a degree can be beneficial in other ways as well. For students who are working or who need tools for balancing school, work, and family, this type of program can be a good fit because it is often delivered in formats outside of the typical collegiate classroom. For instance, some programs are hybrid, with students meeting on campus one day a week and completing additional work online, while some programs are delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format.

Top 25 Online Bachelor’s Degrees With the Highest Percentage of Students Receiving Institutional Financial Aid

The length of the courses themselves are also usually different than in a non-accelerated degree program. While a semester in a traditional degree program is typically 16 weeks in length, an average course takes only 8 weeks to complete in an accelerated program.

Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Completion

In most cases, the costs of a degree program result in higher potential earnings and other benefits throughout the course of a lifetime. Often, these benefits increase as the level of education is expanded, including for completing a master’s degree.

With some accelerated degree programs, students are able to reap the benefits of a graduate degree much more quickly. In this format, students are able to complete most, or all, of the credits needed for a master’s degree while finishing requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

Whichever option a student chooses, the ability to complete a degree plan more quickly can be necessary or just helpful for continuing or getting started in a career. An accelerated degree program offers students the opportunity to gain everything from credit for life experience and previous work experience to finishing individual courses in a shorter timeframe in order to do just that.