Accelerated Online Degree Program Options

Learn about the types, subjects and length of accelerated online degree programs. Find out how they differ from on-campus programs and the typical requirements for enrolling.

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When choosing an online accelerated degree program, students have a variety of subjects, delivery formats and degree levels to choose from.

Overview of Accelerated Online Degree Programs

Accelerated online degree programs allow students to earn degrees much faster than traditional degree programs, often shortening the program by a year or more. Many schools offer accelerated options at all degree levels to students with previous education or work experience in the field. Online studies are usually self-paced, though programs often have deadlines for assignments and exams.

Program Options

Accelerated online degree programs are often available at the bachelor's and master's level; however, some schools also offer associate, doctoral and professional degree programs. Areas of study vary widely, but commonly include:

  • Business administration
  • Nursing
  • Health informatics
  • Dental hygiene
  • Education
  • Criminal justice
  • Humanities

Self-Paced Options

Unlike accelerated degree programs offered on campus, where students often attend classes in the evenings and on weekends, students enrolled in accelerated online degree programs often study when and where they choose. While some of these programs are self-paced and self-directed, others require students to adhere to deadlines and follow the pace set by instructors.

Hybrid Options

Students interested in completing an accelerated online degree program also have the option of enrolling in an accelerated hybrid program. Hybrid programs allow students to take classes online and in the classroom. Students generally meet face-to-face with instructors for half of the course, while studying independently the other half of the time. Some programs may require more online instruction than classroom instruction.

Programs with internship or experience requirements require students to participate in activities in person. It's common to allow these types of requirements to be completed during the course of a student's regular work, as long as it's approved by the school and meets the standards of the experience requirements.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Accelerated Online Degree Program Requirements

There are several important requirements for individuals wishing to enroll in online accelerated degree programs.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions requirements for an online accelerated program are typically more stringent than traditional programs. Associate degree programs usually require work experience in the field of study. Bachelor's degrees can require an associate degree or at least some college as well as experience.

Curriculum Requirements

Graduate and professional degree programs might vary the length of the program based on the type of undergraduate degree held and the extent of a student's experience. For example, if students have both a bachelor's degree and work experience specifically in the field of study, they may have to take fewer courses to earn a master's degree than those with a bachelor's degree in another field.

Technology Requirements

Depending on the field of study, requirements for participating in an online accelerated program might only require access to the Internet to view lectures and complete assignments. Those that teach specific skills might require certain software programs, additional hardware or specialized tools.

Online and hybrid degree programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels from schools around the United States. Students may be required to have more extensive educational or work experience, and obtain particular computer software and hardware, before enrolling.

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