What is an Accelerated Degree? Take the faster path to graduation.
What is an Accelerated Degree

An accelerated degree program is a type of educational course of study that allows students to complete graduation requirements quicker than a traditional degree program. Accelerated degree programs are often designed for busy adult students who are looking to earn their degree as quickly as possible, or who have military educational benefits they’d like to utilize. These faster programs may also be attractive to students who are highly motivated and able to handle a more intensive course load.

How Can a Four-Year Degree Program Be Completed in as little as 2.5 Years?

Some universities condense a four-year bachelor's degree program into 2.5 years. This can be done by offering a more intensive course schedule, in which students take two classes per 5-week term instead of the traditional one or two classes per months-long semester. By taking two classes per 5-week term, students can complete the same number of classes in a shorter period of time. This is what allows them to graduate in less than four years: 

  • Traditional Bachelor's degree program:
    • 120 credits ÷ 15 credits earned per semester = 8 semesters (4 years) 
      • Semesters are 15 - 17 weeks long
      • 3 classes per semester 
  • Accelerated Bachelor's degree program: 
    • 120 credits ÷ 20 credits earned per term = 6 terms (2.5 years) 
      • Terms are 5 weeks long
      • 2 classes per term 

An accelerated degree program with two five-credit classes per five-week term enables students to complete the same number of credits (120) in just 6 terms, or 2.5 years!

It's important to note that accelerated degree programs can be more intensive and demanding than traditional programs. It's always a good idea to carefully consider whether an accelerated program is the right fit for your lifestyle. Research and visit any accelerated colleges and universities in your area. Take a campus tour, or stop by on an open house day—they'll be more than happy to show you around and explain how scheduling works.

Does an Accelerated Degree Program Compromise Quality?

Accelerated degree programs can vary in terms of quality, just like traditional degree programs. The most effective method to determine whether a college offers quality education is to check its accreditation status. This is a 3rd party quality review process, and it is an easy way to discern whether it's a school ... or a scam. 

Because accreditation is a rigorous process and the resulting status is a point of pride, it should not be difficult to determine whether an academic institution is accredited. Check the university's website, review accreditation databases, or call the admissions department

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What to Look for in an Accelerated Degree Program

An accelerated degree program typically moves fast, covering lots of material over a short period of time then quickly moving on to the next topic. Because of this, it is a good idea to find a university that emphasizes learning by doing through laboratory exercises, advanced simulations, workshops, externships, and more.

Immersive learning is one of the most popular methods for comprehension—meaning that you’re more likely to remember something that you’ve done, not just learned about.

Here are a few more important considerations when evaluating the quality of an accelerated degree program:

  • Accreditation: Make sure the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting body. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and academic rigor.
  • Faculty: Look for programs with experienced and well-qualified faculty members who are experts in their fields.
  • Curriculum: Look for programs with a well-rounded and comprehensive curriculum that covers the key concepts and skills in your field of study.
  • Student support services: Find out what kind of support services the program offers, such as tutoring, academic advising, and job counseling. These services can be particularly important in an accelerated program, as the pace of study may be more intense.
  • Graduation and job placement rates: Look for programs with high graduation and job placement rates, as this can be an indication of the program's quality and its ability to prepare students for success after graduation.

What Kinds of Students Benefit Most from an Accelerated Degree Program?

If you have a clear goal and want to get into the workforce as quickly as possible, an accelerated degree program may be a good fit. Because of the intensive nature of an accelerated degree program, you’ll need strong discipline and organizational skills.

Accelerated degree programs can be more intensive and demanding than traditional programs, as they require students to complete a larger number of credits in a shorter period. Students who are highly motivated and able to handle a more intensive course load may be well-suited to an accelerated program.

If you have already completed some college coursework, an accelerated degree program may allow you to earn your degree in a shorter period by applying your previous credits toward your degree. This will be heavily dependent on whether your previous academic institution was accredited.

Some accelerated programs allow students who have relevant work or military experience to earn credit for prior learning or experiential learning, which can save time and money on their degree. Be sure to ask admissions representatives about their Transfer Credits policy, if this applies to you.

Why Choose an Accelerated Degree Program?

There are several reasons why someone might choose an accelerated degree program:

  • To save time and money: An accelerated degree program can allow you to earn your degree in a shorter period of time, which can save you time and money on tuition and other expenses.
  • To get a head start: By earning your degree in a shorter period, you can start working in your new field sooner.
  • To take advantage of prior learning or experiential learning: Some accelerated programs allow students to earn credit for prior learning or experiential learning, which can save time and money on their degree.
  • To meet specific academic or professional goals: If you have a clear goalpost in your sights that requires a degree, an accelerated program may allow you to score more quickly.

Where Could I Earn an Accelerated Degree?

At ECPI University, you could earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 2.5 years—or an associate degree in as little as 1.5 years. Our instructors are seasoned, our education is immersive, and our students graduate with firsthand experience in their chosen field. If you’re considering going back to college as an adult, choose the faster path—it could be the BEST Decision You Ever Make!

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