Monday, September 7, 2015

4 Reasons to Consider 4+1 Degree Programs in the U.S.

By Jordan Friedman
World Education Services

When deciding on a higher education program in the United States, you'll most likely encounter some unique options beyond the standard undergraduate and graduate curricula. 

For example, 4+1 programs, or five-year combined degree programs, shorten the length of time required to earn a bachelor's and a master’s degree at the same time.

These programs are becoming increasingly common throughout the U.S., enabling students to attain a graduate degree on an accelerated track. For example, the Tulane School of Science and Engineering in New Orleans offers 4+1 degree options in various fields, from computational science to psychology to physics. Emory University in Atlanta offers 4+1 programs in disciplines ranging from biostatistics to film/media to environmental science. The list of schools offering these options goes on and on.

International students may wish to pursue 4+1 programs for a number of reasons:

1. Earn two degrees in less time: The typical period for earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree is six years. But 4+1 programs combine the curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs so that students finish both tracks in five years. By choosing this academic option, you'll be able to start working and earning a salary sooner than if you had attended two separate programs.

2. Save money: In most cases, enrolling in a 4+1 program saves you a year’s worth of funding on graduate school tuition. That’s because such programs usually allow you to start taking graduate-level courses during your senior year of undergraduate study. Once you finish your senior year of undergraduate college, you'll only have one year of study left.

3. Work with the same faculty, at the same school: The relationships you form during your undergraduate studies will remain as you pursue your graduate-level studies. When you are transitioning from undergraduate to graduate classes, you might have the opportunity to work with the same faculty members that you are familiar with or at least have somebody you can turn to for advice and assistance in the process. A 4+1 program is also a good option for students who wish to simply stay at the same school they were at for their undergraduate education.

4. Enhance career prospects with a master’s degree: Earning a master’s degree can greatly improve your career outlook as you are more likely to be considered for management positions and given more responsibility. For instance, we recently covered the salary differences between holding an advanced business degree and only an undergraduate degree and they are significant.

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