Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Updated September 26, 2022
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Accelerated Bachelors Degree
The fastest online bachelor's degree programs are those that offer accelerated degrees, allow maximum transfer credits, grant credtis for life & work experience, or have competency-based credits through test-out methods. Today, most professions that provide a good salary, benefits, and stability require a bachelor's degree. As a result, more Americans are returning to college to advance their education and career.
Colleges cater to returning students by offering accelerated online degrees, a perfect match for students with relevant professional experience or some college credit. The fastest online bachelor's degree programs allow you to build on prior educational experience and earn the degree you need for career advancement without the hassle of completing a traditional, four-year program.
What Are Accelerated Degree Programs?
In an accelerated degree program, students take courses that last 5-10 weeks. Typical college courses take 16 weeks. Professors do not cut out content in accelerated courses, meaning that students must work harder than traditional full-time students. However, these programs also incorporate students pre existing credits, which they earn through transfer credits, challenge exams, or portfolios.
Accelerated degree programs appeal to many types of students, but they significantly benefit students with gaps in college attendance. Accelerated programs allow these students to make up for lost time and meet professional goals sooner. When researching accelerated degree programs, focus on programs that complement your skill set and experience and continue to build crucial skills.
Featured Accelerated Bachelor's Programs
The Fastest Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
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Southern New Hampshire University
|Location||Manchester, New Hampshire|
|Percent Online Enrollment||
A private institution in Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University offers undergraduate degrees. The school provides 84 options for learners seeking an online degree, including a BA in general studies. Those who prefer enrolling online benefit from the institution's strong track record in distance education.
At the school, online learners enroll in synchronous and asynchronous classes. Academic advisors and career counselors help majors complete a college degree and plan their next steps. Distance learners also participate in hands-on learning opportunities like internships. Programs work with enrollees to connect with internship sites in their local area.
Graduates from the school's online programs receive an accredited bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree meets the requirements for entry-level roles in business, education, healthcare, and other growing fields.
Southern New Hampshire University Fast Facts:
Online Student Enrollment: 106,762
Online Bachelor's Programs: 35
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22-to-1
Admission Rate: 88%
Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted
Eastern Kentucky University
|Percent Online Enrollment||
From its Richmond campus, Eastern Kentucky University offers undergraduate degrees as a public institution. In addition to in-person options, the school delivers 52 online programs. The online bachelor of arts in general studies program offers rigorous academics in a flexible format.
At the school, online learners choose course formats that fit their schedule. Academic advisors and career counselors help majors complete a college degree and plan their next steps. Distance learners pursue internships to strengthen career-focused skills. While taking online classes, enrollees complete internships at local community sites.
Graduates from the school's online programs enter the workforce with an accredited bachelor's degree. With a bachelor's degree, graduates can launch careers in business, education, healthcare, and other in-demand fields.
Eastern Kentucky University Fast Facts:
Online Student Enrollment: 6,661
Total Bachelor's Programs: 89
Online Bachelor's Programs: 17
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1
Admission Rate: 94%
Albertus Magnus College
|Location||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Percent Online Enrollment||
A private institution, Albertus Magnus College operates from its main campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Learners interested in an online degree can choose from 21 options at the school, including a BA in general studies. Online degree-seekers benefit from a flexible format with high academic standards.
At the school, online learners can take classes with live sessions or no set meeting times. Majors participate in career counseling and academic advising. Distance learners pursue internships to strengthen career-focused skills. Enrollees work with the institution to find local experiential learning sites.
Students who complete general education and major requirements graduate with an accredited bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree can lead to opportunities in business, healthcare, education, and other in-demand fields.
Albertus Magnus College Fast Facts:
Online Student Enrollment: 692
Online Bachelor's Programs: 10
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1
Admission Rate: 83%
How Fast Can I Get an Accelerated Bachelor's Degree?
The traditional college experience involves taking courses on campus for four or more years. These requirements often turn away prospective working professionals returning to school and people balancing family or work obligations. To meet all learners' needs, schools instituted online education programs and faster options for degree completion. Continue reading to learn more about seven methods the fastest online bachelor's degrees use to help students graduate. These methods include using professional experience, prior education, and examinations to award credit or allow you to skip introductory courses.
- Competency-based programs: Competency-based programs stress the specialized knowledge and skills students need for their current or future careers. Students must demonstrate their proficiency with one skill before moving on to the next. Instead of traditional tests, students prove their mastery through projects or other tasks that reflect their chosen fields' expectations.
- Credits for life and professional experience: Many colleges and universities award professional experience credits. Schools typically require new students to submit a portfolio of relevant work and complete interviews with faculty members. Military veterans often receive these credits as their training provides them with valuable skills and knowledge.
- Options to test out of courses: Schools use challenge exams, such as the College Level Examination Program, to allow incoming students to test out of courses. Each school sets its policy on how many tests students may attempt or how many courses they may skip. Passing challenge exams allow some students to graduate one semester sooner than their peers.
- Flat-rate programs: Flat-rate programs boast speed and affordability. When students pay a flat tuition rate for 12 credits, they can typically take six additional credits without incurring any extra charges. Although some universities allow students to take more than 18 credits each semester, the university may require a dean's approval before the students can attempt such a heavy course load.
- High transfer-credit rates from previous study: Many colleges and universities attract transfer students by boasting high transfer-credit rates. If a student earned their credits from an accredited college or university, the credit should transfer. Prospective students must pay close attention to credit transfer policies as they affect both students' time in school and total tuition. These policies may reduce program duration by 1-2 years.
- Degree completion programs: Degree completion programs accept students with associate degrees who plan to earn a bachelor's in the same subject. If incoming students meet all application requirements, their prior education automatically counts toward their bachelor's degrees. In these programs, students can earn their bachelor's in two years or less.
- Accelerated programs: Accelerated programs allow students to earn their degrees quickly. The curricula ensures that students stay on track and graduate on time. Continue reading to learn more about accelerated programs and how they might benefit you.
Common Questions About Accelerated Bachelor's Programs
What Is the Fastest Way to Get a Bachelor's Degree?
An accelerated, online bachelor's program is usually the quickest way to earn a bachelor's degree. Students in these programs can take more credits at once, leading to early graduation — sometimes in 1-2 years. However, most bachelor's programs take about four years, and part-time online programs can take much longer.
How Long Does an Accelerated Bachelor's Take?
An accelerated bachelor's can take as little as one year to complete. However, exact length depends on the school and program.
Are Accelerated Degrees Good?
So long as you choose a program offered by a regionally accredited university, your accelerated bachelor's degree is good. However, if you attend a school that doesn't have the appropriate accreditation, your degree may not be recognized by employers. Always check school accreditation before enrolling.
What Is the Easiest Degree to Get?
The most common high-GPA degrees are psychology, criminal justice, and English. However, what degree is the easiest depends on your personal skills. What's easy for you may not be easy for somebody else.
Are Online Degrees Faster?
Sometimes. Accelerated online programs often allow students to take heavier courseloads, which helps them graduate sooner. However, many online degree programs are part-time programs, meaning students take lighter course loads and study around their jobs and other responsibilities. In that case, it may take online students longer to graduate.
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