Schools and Colleges with Accelerated Degree Programs

Jul 15, 2018

Students who want to earn a degree in an abbreviated amount of time can look into accelerated degree programs. Available in many fields and at different degree levels, these programs commonly offer a shorter duration, but they might have different admissions requirements.

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Accelerated Degree Programs

Individuals can find a variety of schools and colleges with accelerated degree programs in nursing, business, law, and medicine. The characteristics of an accelerated degree program typically depend on how a school defines the program. The common theme of accelerated degree programs is that students can earn a degree in a shorter period of time than if they enroll in a traditional program. The divergent factors generally include admission requirements, the number of credits per course, and the type and number of degrees awarded.

Some undergraduate programs allow students to finish a four-year degree more quickly than normal. Other programs allow undergraduates to earn dual credit toward both bachelor's and advanced degrees, often requiring a year less than if students enroll in both programs individually. At the undergraduate level, students may be able to enroll in an accelerated degree program if they have a minimum high school GPA, work experience, previously earned college credit, or have completed a lower-level degree program. At the graduate level, students may be able to finish their degree faster if they're awarded additional credit beyond standard coursework. For instance, schools might award credit for undergraduate courses with a minimum GPA, professional certification, or work experience.

Nursing Programs

Several schools offer accelerated degree programs in nursing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students may find accelerated nursing degree programs in full-time, part-time, online, and in blended on-campus/online formats. Admissions requirements could include a lower-level degree in nursing or a bachelor's degree in any field, previous college coursework, a registered nursing license, certain healthcare certifications, and immunizations. Duke University, the University of Washington, and Montana State University offer accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs.

MBA Programs

Accelerated Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are also available at several schools. These programs are usually 12-24 months long, and often offer different concentrations or dual-degree options. Concentrations might include marketing, global management, finance, and entrepreneurship. Dual degree programs might include an MBA along with a bachelor's degree, law degree, or a master's degree in another field. Many schools offer these programs fully or partially online and either full-time or part-time. Accelerated MBA programs are available at Northwestern University, Babson College, and the University of Oregon.

Law Programs

Many schools now offer accelerated two-year Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs rather than the traditional three-year program. These programs generally include a summer semester but require the same number of courses and credits as three-year programs. Pepperdine University, Vermont Law School, and Gonzaga University all offer accelerated J.D. programs.

Another accelerated law degree option includes J.D./MBA programs. These programs generally require law courses for the first year of study and then begin incorporating business courses in the second year. Accelerated dual-degree programs in law and business take three to four years, are full-time, and are for students that show exceptional ambition and ability for the rigorous course load. J.D./MBA programs can be found at Yale University, Columbia University, and Boston University.

Medicine Programs

Students without a bachelor's degree can find accelerated dual-degree programs that award a bachelor's degree as well as a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). Normally, these degrees separately can take eight years; with the accelerated option, students can earn both degrees in as few as six years. Many schools require pre-med undergraduate studies, though students could also select any major for their bachelor's degree. Admission to these accelerated programs often requires candidates to have graduated within the top 10% of their high school class. Such programs can be found at Temple University, the University of South Florida, and the University of Nevada at Reno.

For students who want to finish one or more degrees more quickly than the standard completion programs, accelerated degree programs are available in several different fields.

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