UNF has an accelerated master’s program

Sarah Glenn, Volunteer reporter

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Earning a master’s degree can increase potential earnings and make you more desirable to employers. It’s an extra step that many students consider. The University of North Florida has recently started offering an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program to their students. The university previously offered traditional master’s, doctorate and graduate certificate programs.  

UNF’s accelerated master’s program offers students the opportunity to earn credits towards their graduate degrees while completing their undergraduate degrees. Depending on the program, students might be able to complete up to 12 credit hours of their master’s degrees in the process of earning their bachelor’s degree. Essentially, some of their credits count twice. Currently, the accelerated track is available for degrees in: public administration, English, mechanical engineering, music education, and education with a concentration in athletic administration. Additional programs are pending approval. 

This program is designed for students who already plan to go to graduate school; this can help expedite the process, saving time and money. “We are excited to bring this opportunity here. I know a lot of institutions have similar programs and we are happy to be able to offer it,” said Megan Kuehner, the director of the graduate school. “It’s a great opportunity if you know what you want; this is a great chance to get it done.”

Spending less time in school means spending less money. According to the University of North Florida’s website, tuition and fees come out to about 494 dollars per 1 credit hour for Florida residents. Depending on the program, a master’s degree typically requires 33 to 54 credits. That would bring the cost of a master’s degree to approximately 21,242 dollars. Kuehner says the accelerated program can save up to four thousand dollars for students. 

The program also offers a chance to network as a lot of students in the traditional master’s program have already been in the workforce and accelerated students will be learning alongside them. Students will have the chance to make connections in their field before they leave school.

Andrew Ballantyne, a student considering the accelerated program, expressed a concern that he would not be getting the true experience of earning an upper-level degree, as he would be able to earn the degree so quickly.

To that, Kuehner said, “Our graduate faculty and program directors aren’t viewing this as an easy path. They are saying, you’re going to come into this grad level course work and have to compete with every other student in there and so you have to earn that spot and maintain that spot. I almost think the demands are higher for these students, academically.”

Accelerated students will be enrolled in 15 credit hours, some of which will be graduate-level course work. Traditionally, graduate students are enrolled in six credit hours per semester.

Students are asked to have at least a 3.0 GPA, but the requirement could be higher depending on the program of study. Regardless, all students are encouraged to inquire and learn more about their program of interest. They also need to have junior status and have completed fifteen major credit hours at the time of application. 

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