What are the Requirements for an Accelerated Degree Program?
In most cases an accelerated degree program will have the same requirements as a traditional degree. These requirements will simply be shifted so you can earn them on a tighter schedule instead of having to wait around for the last class you need to become available. The requirements you will need to meet will also vary based on the type of degree you hope to earn, as training will vary wildly amongst different portions of the employment field. If you are in a position where a very rigorous class schedule seems overwhelming, searching for a degree that offers flexibility can be helpful rather than sticking to traditional methods.
Accelerated Degrees with Final Projects and Exams
In some cases, particularly when participating in an accelerated degree program online, you will be asked to complete regular homework or quizzes to ensure that you are keeping up with the material the way you should be. If you are already working full time or trying to earn your degree while managing your responsibilities at home it can be easy to forget these assignments or fail to finish them on time. If this is a concern, seek out degrees that focus on a large final project or exam.
If you are allowed to prepare a paper or similar project throughout the life of the class you will be able to fit this work in when it is convenient to you. However, you should still look for an accelerated degree program that offers check in points for these major assignments such as a rough draft period. Otherwise you could turn in your final coursework only to discover that you will be receiving a poor grade because you did not understand the requirements.
Ask about the Number of Credits Up Front
Most accelerated degrees do not ask for a lower number of credits. A bachelor’s degree usually calls for around 120 credits, though some master’s degrees can be earned with as few as 60-80 alongside some sort of thesis project. An accelerated degree program may cut down on the number of classes it takes to reach this goal by offering more 3-4 credit classes or allowing you to take larger semesters at once. Degrees that are designed for those already in the work force may also allow you to supplement on the job training, work experience or other projects for class credit so you can spend less time in a lecture hall.
If you are counting on financial aid to complete your degree, be sure you check to see how many credits you will need to take to be considered a full time student. Your degree program may allow you to take very few classes to get this status, but some insurance or student loan companies do not differentiate between a traditional and accelerated degree program, requiring students to take the standard 12 credits to be considered full time. Talk to your advisor about these discrepancies to ensure that you have a plan for how you will manage these risks.