18 Online universities with 8 week semesters

Although every student is different, when considering an online degree program, most adult learners seem to be primarily concerned with three things:

  1. Amount of time it takes to complete the degree program
  2. Cost of tuition
  3. Ability to receive credit for life experience

Although I always try to cover these topics in my online college review posts, I thought I would take a few minutes to address these concerns in greater detail. In this post, I will start by talking a little bit about term length. In my college review comparing UMASS – Amherst and Columbia College, I briefly mentioned that some colleges offer classes that follow the traditional 16 week semester and others offer accelerated classes (most programs offering accelerated classes offer 8 weeks terms, but I have seen terms as short as 5 weeks before). Although the difference in semester length might not seem like a big deal, if you are wanting to earn your degree in four years or less, it might be worth it to you to look into shorter term lengths. At Columbia College, I can take two classes per 8 weeks, which equates to 4 classes per traditional 16 week semester. That’s a full-time course load, but I only have to juggle two classes at a time. Had I chosen to attend UMASS – Amherst, I would have had to juggle 4 classes at one time while working full-time to get the same results… not a pretty picture. 16 weeks vs. 8 weeks Since I have taken both traditional and accelerated classes, I thought I might discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. In traditional (16 week) terms, the pace is generally slower and you have more time to complete assignments. The slower pace also gives you more time to really absorb the material. On the other hand, if you dislike the class, 16 weeks will most likely seem like an eternity. In addition, you are limited in the number of courses you can take/handle while still taking care of your other responsibilities (family, job, etc.). Most part-time students take two classes per semester, so that means you will earn about 6 hours per 16 week term, or 12 hours per academic year. If you attend a college or university that offers accelerated classes, you will notice right away that things have picked up a bit. The same amount of work is required of you, but you complete it in half the time. Typically, each of my classes require that I read 2-3 chapters per week. I generally also have two or three assignments due every week in each class. This can range from simple discussion assignments where you discuss the week’s reading, or it can include an essay or test. It just depends on the nature of the class. Since I typically take two classes per 8 weeks, I stay busy… but I don’t mind. The pace keeps me from getting bored with the material. By the time I am ready for a change, the semester is coming to a close. Since I take 6 hours per 8 weeks, that means I earn 12 hours (a full-time course load) every 16 weeks. That’s twice the amount of classes I would earn during a traditional semester, and I only have to juggle two classes at a time (which is very manageable). If you are interested in researching some of the online colleges that presently offer accelerated terms, I will try and keep the following list up to date. If there are any universities I am overlooking, please post a comment and let others know. Thanks! Online colleges offering accelerated terms:

  • Marylhurst University
  • Columbia College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Liberty University
  • Park University
  • Davenport University
  • Central Texas College
  • Excelsior College
  • Fisher College (Boston)
  • College of DuPage
  • North Carolina Wesleyan
  • Ashford University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Post University
  • Walden University
  • Regis University
  • Florida Community College
  • Ellis College of NYIT   [UPDATE: 7/23/08]
  • Mount Olive College    [UPDATE: 8/7/08, 5 week terms]
  • Lynn University (Florida)    [UPDATE: 8/13/08]

Right now, these are the only programs I know about, but I am sure there are more out there. I will add to this list as I come across more accelerated programs. If you want to check out some other online programs, perform an online degree search. Digg!

Top Online College Degree Programs

Kaplan University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Considered a top online college, Kaplan University offers students affordable and convenient online classes. Kaplan University is an accredited university that provides students the education to become successful professionals upon graduation.
Saint Leo University - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. At Saint Leo University, students have the opportunity to achieve their lifelong and educational goals. The university provides students with academic and industry professionals who are highly educated in their field of expertise and are willing to share that knowledge with the students at Saint Leo.
American InterContinental University - Associate's , Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. With campuses located around the world, American InterContinental University has been educating students for over 35 years. AIU offers flexible and interactive programs that assist the students in graduating at their own pace.
Walden University - Bachelor's, Master's, & Doctorate Degrees. Walden University is dedicated in ensuring students receive the education they need to advance in their careers. Their programs are convenient and effective, providing working students with the flexibility they need.
Colorado Technical University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. By designing their programs to meet the changing needs of today's world, Colorado Technical University prepares students for a career in the most competitive industries. Additionally, they offer accelerated and flexible programs to allow students to enter the professional world sooner than traditional programs.
Virginia College - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. Virginia College prepares students for their professional lives by providing them with the appropriate skills and knowledge for their area of concentration. The college's career-oriented programs will prepare students for the real-world in no time.
Liberty University - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University now enrolls more than 90,000 students from around the world in its thriving online program. With more than 230 fully accredited programs of study, Liberty University Online offers degrees from the certificate to the postgraduate level.
Post University - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. Post University is a premiere destination for students in obtaining their college degree online. Post University offers a dynamic curriculum to every student and are taught by the very best professors in their field of study.