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Nov. 12, 2009 Volume 31, No. 12

Quickening the pace of graduation

Intersession option

Three year undergraduate degrees can be a reality

Chancellor Brady Deaton’s idea for reducing graduation time as an option that might save students and families tuition money finds a partner in courses already offered at the University of Missouri.

By taking advantage of intersession courses, students at MU might shave time off of the traditional four-year degree. Intersession courses for 2010 meet every weekday for two weeks beginning Jan. 4 and ending Jan. 15.

With the current economic climate driving discussions on a national level about the need for a more rapid undergraduate education, intersession, summer and extended (online) courses are three of the options MU provides students seeking to graduate early — or keep pace while taking advantage of internship and study abroad opportunities.

“I think advisers need to put this on the list of things that as professional staff they know,” says Ted Tarkow, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science. “Knowing that three-year degrees are an increased reality for some students, our advisers are going to be equipped to address that.”

This intersession’s College of Arts and Science courses include:

  • Anthropology 1002: Topics — Our Origins, a Survey of Human/Primate Behavior and Biology
  • Art History and Archeology 1005: Topics — Impressionism
  • Biological Sciences 2002: Topics — How the Brain Works
  • History 2004: Topics — The Legacy of the Greeks
  • Music 1618: Basic Music Skills
  • Political Science 2004: Topics — The Politics of the “War on Drugs” Past and Present
  • Psychological Sciences 3020: Research Methods in Psychology II
  • Religious Studies 2005: Topics — Gods, Dwarves and Dragons, Introduction to Old Norse Mythology
  • Religious Studies 2005: Topics — Foundational Jewish Ethics
  • Sociology 2103: United States Human Rights
  • Statistics 2200: Introductory Statistical Methods

“The key will be helping [the student who chooses an accelerated pace] make good choices so that they can balance the academic load and be successful learners,” says James Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies.

With more students arriving at MU with dual credit and advanced placement credit, combining that advanced standing with intersession and summer courses may prove to be the pathway toward a three-year undergraduate degree. — David Wietlispach