What Are Degree Completion Programs?

Degree completion programs are meant for students who, for one reason or another, haven't completed their bachelor's degree programs and wish to do so. Students must hold a minimum number of credits to apply to these programs.

Degree Completion Program Overview

If a student leaves or drops out of school before completing a bachelor's program, he or she can apply to a degree completion program, which will allow him or her to take required classes and earn a degree. Many schools require a certain number of completed credits before the student can apply. Degree completion programs are available in anthropology, biology, education and finance, among many other subjects.


All degree completion programs must be accredited, as should the school from which the student received the original credits. Accreditation means that a school and its programs adhere to national standards, which include the education level attained by a school's educators and the subjects taught within a program. All accrediting agencies approved by the United States government can be found at the U.S. Department of Education's website. More specific accrediting agencies are listed below.

Liberal Arts Accrediting Agencies

Some accrediting agencies associated with arts and humanities include the following:

  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Dance, Commission on Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation

Education Accrediting Agencies

Some education school accrediting agencies that students may turn to include:

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

Health Care Accrediting Agencies

Some healthcare accreditation agencies include the following organizations:

  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
  • American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation

Selecting a School

Students looking into degree completion programs should find one that offers a degree in a subject with which they are familiar, though many students enrolled in degree completion programs choose a broad major, such as liberal arts studies. It's important that the school also has up-to-date computer systems and the option to complete at least some courses online, since students looking to finish a degree often work full- or part-time jobs.

Program Options

Many degree completion programs offer several options a student can take advantage of to earn credits outside the classroom. These programs are often affiliated with community outreach projects and the military. They may include the following:

  • Military training credit
  • Independent study
  • Community-based outreach
  • Distance courses from other institutions
  • Credit for professional certification
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