You are here:

Professor Argues The Merits of the Three Year Degree

For most colleges, it's a fairly cut-and-dry set of options: the two-year associate degree, or the four-year bachelor degree. Which do you choose? What if there was a third choice? What if you could obtain a more focused, direct form of the bachelor degree program, with all of the well-rounded higher level education but none of the peripherals, and at a cost a bit closer to a two-year technical degree? It's closer to reality than you may think: many universities today are considering condensing some bachelor degrees into a three-year program.

Today, the New York Times published a review of Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education, a book by University of Pennsylvania professor Robert Zemsky in which he makes a case for major reform in American higher education -- namely, transforming the standard college degree program from four years down to a "three-year baccalaureate." According to Zemsky, one of the main reasonings behind this idea is to clear students' paths for post-graduate work: "With more and more Americans pursuing advanced degrees, it makes sense to look for ways to shorten the undergraduate portion of their post-secondary educations." Zemsky likens the senior year of undergraduate studies to the senior year of high school, a point at which many students are burned out and view the year there as something of a waste.

But what about community colleges? With the major push toward the community college system lately, wouldn't they feel left out in the cold when four-year institutions start offering slimmed down degrees? Zemsky acknowledges they may feel that way, but he urges them to think of themselves as a viable piece of a larger education puzzle. "Though the community colleges will see themselves as threatened," he says, "a nationally adopted three-year baccalaureate degree could well prove to be a boon to them by clearly identifying and funding them as the places where students go to complete their precollegiate education... Community colleges could continue to provide the first year of collegiate instruction for students of limited means as well as students seeking a low-risk higher education portal."

The idea of the three-year degree program has been gathering support among students slowly but surely for a while now, but so far it has been a hard sell for professors and administrators who worry about financial implications or a loss of total "college experience" for students. That said, with the support of a professor as influential as Zemsky -- according to the article, he was nominated to participate in Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings's Commission on the Future of Higher Education during the Bush administration -- others may soon follow suit. Already, Arizona State University is putting a plan for three-year programs before the education board; more schools are likely not far behind. The tides may be turning already.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • University of Phoenix

    At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.

    Programs

    • B.S. in Environmental Science
    • Doctor of Education/Educational Leadership
    • Doctor of Education/Curriculum and Instruction
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of Phoenix Request Info »
  • Allied Schools

    Whether you want to train for a new career, advance within your current company, or simply learn new skills to stay competitive in today's job market, Allied's distance education training can help!

    Programs

    • California Real Estate Salesperson
    • Medical Coding
    • Pharmacy Technician Program
    Location:
    Laguna Hills: 22952 Alcalde Drive, Laguna Hills CA 92653
    Allied Schools Request Info »
  • Animal Behavior College

    Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Assistant
    • Grooming Instruction
    • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course

    Location: Online

    Animal Behavior College Request Info »
  • Lubbock Christian University Online

    Along with providing a quality career-oriented education online for busy working adults, we aim to teach students about the spiritual aspect of life and impart a system of values for living.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    Location: Online

    Lubbock Christian University Online Request Info »
  • USC Rossier School of Education

    Advance your teaching career with an online master's degree from University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

    Programs

    • Master of Arts in Teaching
    • Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
    • Master of Arts in Teaching with Teaching Credential
    • More...
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 3470 Trousdale Pkwy., Los Angeles CA 90089
    USC Rossier School of Education Request Info »
  • Penn Foster Schools

    Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

    Programs

    • HVAC Technician
    • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Electrical
    • Administrative Assistant
    • More...
    Location:
    Scranton: , Scranton PA 18501
    Penn Foster Schools Request Info »
  • Ashworth College

    Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.

    Programs

    • Writing Children's Books
    • Medical Transcription
    • Medical Office Assisting
    • More...
    Location:
    Norcross: , Norcross GA
    Ashworth College Request Info »
  • Stratford Career Institute

    Earn Your Diploma from Home!

    Programs

    • Electrician
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Funeral Service Education
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Stratford Career Institute Request Info »
  • The College Network

    Pursue your education online with The College Network.

    Programs

    • LPN/LVN to RN - AS in Nursing (Licensed LPN/LVNs only)
    • LPN/LVN to RN - BS in Nursing - Indiana St. - (Licensed LPN/LVNs only)

    Location: Online

    The College Network Request Info »
  • Argosy University

    Welcome to Argosy University

    Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its seven colleges: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Undergraduate Studies, The Art Institute of California and Western State College of Law as well as certificate programs in many areas.

    Programs

    • Psychology (BA) (Online)
    • Business Administration (AS) (Online)
    • Human Resource (MS) (Online)
    • More...
    Location:
    Phoenix: 2233 West Dunlap Ave., Phoenix AZ 85021
    Argosy University Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.