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What Are the Different Types of Accelerated Master's Programs?

B. Miller
B. Miller

There are a number of different accelerated master's programs available for those who do not want to devote two years or more to graduate school. It is often difficult to complete a master's program in less than a year and a half, but some particularly motivated students may be able to do it in a year. Online options are one of the most common types of accelerated master's programs, which allow students to take courses on the web, sometimes without ever traveling to the university. Other options allow students pursuing a bachelor's degree at a university to combine it with a master's program, thereby finishing it in just an additional year rather than two years.

The second type, a combined bachelor's and master's degree, is common in fields such as nursing and information technology. This can be very beneficial for students who already know what they want their career to be, and know that they will need a master's degree for it. The application process for a graduate program is removed, which saves time and money. Money is also saved if the master's degree only takes one year to completed instead of two. Unfortunately, not everyone has these options for accelerated master's programs.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Online accelerated master's programs are among the other options. These allow students to take online courses -- often in shorter, intensive bursts rather than full semesters -- in order to take a greater number of classes in a shorter period of time. Sometimes these programs feature low-residency options, in which students will come on to campus for a week or two once or twice per year, but others will not require students to come at all. It is important that any online graduate program is either nationally or regionally accredited; regional accreditation is preferable, but both are usually acceptable.

Some graduate schools simply offer an accelerated master's program on campus. Generally, this will be a solid year if the student chooses to go year-round, or a year and a half if students take the summer off. Whether or not a school offers these types of accelerated master's programs depends on the size of the school and the amount of staff they have, as well as the amount of interest that students express in completing an accelerated degree program. As more and more working professionals decide to return to school, it is becoming more profitable for universities to develop accelerated master's degree programs in order to make it more convenient for them.

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