New 3-year degrees at universities save time and money

Image from the 2023 commencement promotion. There are several advantages to pursuing a three-year degree including the time and money saved by eliminating another year of school. | UMAC file photo

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BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s slogan for the debut of their new accelerated bachelor’s degree program is “Earn a degree in three.”

In April 2024, BYU-Idaho and Ensign College will be allowing students to complete an online bachelor’s degree in three years instead of the traditional four.

In this new program, elective credits will be eliminated. Students will only be required to take 90-96 credit hours. The standard for a bachelor’s degree is 120 credits.

This means less time and money spent on higher education for students.

The program was created to be online and flexible for nontraditional students. It will allow students to be on a fast track to start their careers quicker.

Bryan Magaña, the public relations director for Weber State University, said his university is aware of the introduction of the new program. Weber also has low-cost paths to get a degree at an accelerated pace.

“About 31% of Weber State students earn their bachelor’s degrees over three years,” Magaña said.

Alicia Booth, instructor of the practice in communication, said she loves teaching elective courses. She believes the electives help communication majors become more rounded in specific parts of communication.

At Utah Tech, communication studies majors can emphasize particular parts of communication. Students can pick an emphasis that aligns with their career and get more in-depth training by taking the elective class that dives deeper into that specific area than a regular core communication class.

Helen Tate, the associate provost for academic success and dean of University College, said Utah Tech is also aware of the recent introduction of the 90-credit bachelor’s degree program and is still exploring the concept to determine if it would be a good option for students.

“Utah Tech students should know that…we will always make your educational needs our highest priority, and if we do offer three-year degrees, it will only be after careful consideration of how best to serve our students and our community,” Tate said.

Though other colleges may follow BYU Idaho and Ensign College to a quick degree path consisting of only 90 credits, Utah Tech considers how valuable the three-year bachelor’s degree will be in the eyes of employers and how they will perceive students with these degrees. For now, Utah Tech is in an exploratory phase.