What Are the Different Types of Accelerated Undergraduate Degree Programs?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Students may take college-level courses in high school as part of an accelerated undergraduate degree program.
Students may take college-level courses in high school as part of an accelerated undergraduate degree program.

Accelerated undergraduate degree programs may be designed for adults who work and have some college credits already. Other accelerated undergraduate degree programs allow a student to start and finish a bachelor's degree within two years instead of the traditional four. An accelerated program may also allow a student to earn both his bachelor's and master's degrees in the time it would normally take to earn only a bachelor's. The programs may be held online or held in a traditional classroom setting.

One of the more common types of accelerated undergraduate degree programs is intended for people who have some college experience. Usually these people began a program at a traditional age but didn't complete their degree for any number of reasons. Some of these programs have minimum requirements. For example, a student may need at least 30 college credits to enter the program. Some also require that students have had a professional job for at least a few years before they are admitted.

A combined bachelor's and master's degree is another common accelerated program. These accelerated undergraduate degree programs are usually open to people who are just beginning their academic careers or students who are currently enrolled in school. Many programs last five years, at the end of which a student will have a master;s degree.

Some accelerated undergraduate degree programs take place exclusively online. The online format allows a student to study and take courses on his own time while still working at an accelerated pace. Many online courses last for a period of eight weeks, compared to the traditional 15-week class length.

Other programs feature traditional classroom settings. Like online programs, the duration of each class may be shorter, eight or ten weeks, instead of 15. A few programs may also require that a student sign up for an internship, especially if the program is an accelerated combined bachelor's and master's degree. Whether the courses are online or in-person, attending class during the summer is usually expected.

A student can commonly earn a degree in subjects such as nursing, business, and computer science in an accelerated program. Fast-track programs typically award degrees in practical fields, because they are usually intended for people who want to improve their job prospects or receive a raise. Some programs also offer degrees in areas such as liberal arts or interdisciplinary studies. The degree options available to a student depend on the size and type of college or university he chooses.

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    • Students may take college-level courses in high school as part of an accelerated undergraduate degree program.
      Students may take college-level courses in high school as part of an accelerated undergraduate degree program.