Sally Mason

Sally Mason

The University of Iowa announced today it will begin offering an accelerated program that will allow students in some majors to get a degree in three years.

U-I president, Sally Mason says the idea came out of talks last fall about finding ways for students to have a better experience at the Iowa City school.

“If you are a motivated student — again let me emphasize this is not for every student — this is for highly-motivated students who have a very good idea of what they want to accomplish in life and want to achieve that college degree as quickly as possible,” Mason says. Mason says graduating in three years could have a big impact on students and parents. “You can save quite a bit of money, that extra semester, that extra whatever it might mean in terms of housing, room and board, and tuition, if you can reduce those costs, you can significantly reduce the cost of your college degree,” Mason says.

Mason says the first majors available under the program are: communication studies, English, history, international studies, marketing, and theatre arts. “Many of these are majors that lots of students pursue,” Mason says, “So we’re pleased obviously that we know we can do these degrees in three for certain types of students.” Students can enroll in the program after beginning classes in the fall and discussing the option with academic advisors. The three-year degrees require the same number of credits as four-year options, but students have to take a heavier course load and proceed at a faster pace.

Mason says students interested in the program will have to sit down with their advisor and determine if they want to pursue it. “We have lots of students who come here who discover what it is they are passionate about — so this may not be for them,” Mason says. Students in the program have to agree to talk with their advisor regularly and meet checkpoints established by the school to help them stay on track.

Mason says this continues the evolution of trying to offer students the best chance to graduate as soon as they can. She says the program started several years ago that guarantees students can get the classes they need to graduate in four years used to be something that students opted into, and she says it has now become an opt out program, as it is assumed that most students will graduate in four years.