Schools and Colleges with Accelerated Degree Programs

Students who want to earn a degree in an abbreviated 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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What Are Accelerated Degree Programs?

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.

Undergraduate programs might require a minimum high school GPA, work experience, some college credit, or completion of a lower-level degree program. Some 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 graduate level, schools might award credit for undergraduate courses with a minimum GPA, professional certification, or work experience.

Common Accelerated Degree Programs

Though many schools offer accelerated programs in a variety of fields, such as engineering, accounting, or social sciences, the following list details the most common types of programs available in an accelerated format.

Nursing

Several schools offer accelerated degree programs in nursing at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 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. Students can find accelerated nursing degree programs in full-time, part-time, online, and in blended on-campus/online formats.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Accelerated 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.

Law

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.

Another accelerated law degree option includes a 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 3-4 years, are full-time and are for students that show exceptional ambition and ability for the rigorous course load.

Medicine

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.

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