More Accelerated Masters Programs Being Offered

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
October 23, 2009

In an effort to cut costs to students and help them embark on their careers faster, many schools are offering accelerated masters programs in a variety of fields.

Pioneer Local in Illinois reports that Lake Forest College recently began joint programs with Illinois Institute of Technology's Chicago-Kent College of Law and Loyola University Chicago School of Law, allowing qualifying students the opportunity to begin law school after three years of education at Lake Forest. Students will need to complete their majors and general education curriculum requirements by the end of their junior year, will receive their bachelor's degrees after their first year in law school, and will ultimately complete college and law school in six years instead of seven.

"The primary benefit to the student is financial," said Janet McCracken, provost and dean of faculty at Lake Forest. "For those students who qualify, it gets them on the job market a year earlier."

Finishing school a year earlier could save students nearly $35,000. Lake Forest officials said that under the new program, students would pay Lake Forest tuition for the first three years and the law school's tuition for the next three years.

Similarly, Macon.com in Georgia reports that Wesleyan College recently announced a new master's degree for teachers focusing on early childhood education which will last 14 months, in contrast to the 24 months it typically took to complete the same degree beforehand.

"The students can gain more, learn more from one another and complete the program faster," said Susan Welsh, a spokesperson for the college. "The content generally is the same but they put a greater emphasis on content that can be used in the classroom immediately."

Business Week reports that accelerated MBA programs, which can be completed in one year at about half the price of the traditional two-year program, are gaining in popularity as well. According to the latest application trend survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, nearly 70 percent of one-year MBA programs reported an increase in applications this year.

"Five years ago, the two-year MBA was significantly more popular than the one-year MBA model," said Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of the QS World MBA Tour, which surveyed nearly 4,000 prospective MBA students in 35 countries. "But now they are neck to neck."

Rutgers Business School, for example, will be launching a one-year MBA program in the summer of 2010 at its New Brunswick, New Jersey campus. Susan Gilbert, the school's associate dean of MBA programs, explained that even though Rutgers has never offered the accelerated program before, it makes sense to have it for more experienced applicants who already hold undergraduate business degrees.

"There's a growing niche segment of students who aren't making as big of a career switch," she explained. "They want their MBAs in a hurry in order to advance their career in the field and function that they are already in."

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