A master’s degree is an entry point into an elite world of highly skilled professionals, but in recent years, that world has gotten larger. While those with a bachelor’s degree still make up the majority of college graduates, the United States Census Bureau estimates that the number of people age 25 and older with master’s degrees has doubled to 21 million since the start of the century. A higher percentage of students entering graduate study means a more educated populace, but it also increases the likelihood that you’ll face more competition for today’s most sought-after careers.

If you’re among those who feel a master’s degree will give you a much-needed competitive edge, you might be asking yourself how long it will take to finish graduate school. 

Fewer Credits, Same Commitment

Traditionally, it takes about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Typically, a master’s degree can be completed in about half the time, but this does not make the path to graduation easier. A college education requires an intense level of preparation, focus, and dedication, no matter how many credits are involved.

You can expedite the process of starting a master’s degree at the University of Arizona Global Campus because there is no GRE required, but your path to graduation will vary depending on how many credits you must complete to earn your master’s degree*. For example, at UAGC, the Master of Arts in Special Education requires 30 course credits to complete, while a Master of Arts in Health Care Administration is comprised of 36 credits.

A Flexible Path to Graduation

At UAGC, you’ll take one master’s degree course at a time in six-week intervals, allowing you to balance school, work, and family commitments, while still being able to access your online classroom from anywhere.

Every day, you can log in via desktop or using the UAGC mobile app to check your progress, participate in discussion forums, and conduct research for your weekly assignments. Additionally, UAGC makes it easier for you to plan for your post-graduation career while you’re still in school. The Career Services team, for example, can help you prepare your resume and practice your interviewing techniques, and many student organizations allow you to connect with colleagues and network with future employers.

When students take full advantage of the online ecosystem at UAGC, they’re able to shorten the amount of time they’d spend conducting their job search after graduation.

Getting Your Master’s Degree Faster

Knowing that each three-credit course takes six weeks to complete, it’s possible to estimate how long it may take you to earn your master’s degree at UAGC. However, there are ways to shorten that length of time to complete your graduate education.

First, you may be eligible to transfer* up to nine credits toward your master’s degree. Transfer credits can come from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university, or they can be military credits that are graduate-level equivalent. The UAGC Registrar’s Office will request your transcripts prior to admission and will make the final determination on whether your transfer credits qualify.

UAGC also offers the SMART Track program, which allows high performing students a chance to earn master’s degree credits while completing their bachelor’s degree programs. To be eligible for SMART Track, you must be in good financial standing, have a GPA of 2.75 or higher, and have completed 108+ bachelor’s degree credits. If approved, you can take up to six credits of graduate coursework (or nine credits if you are pursuing a Master of Accountancy, MBA, Master of Public Administration, or Master of Science in Criminal Justice) while pursuing your bachelor’s degree, shortening the cost and length of time it takes to earn your master’s degree. In fact, students who have enrolled in SMART Track call the program a “game changer” because it can potentially eliminate up to 18 weeks from a master’s degree program before a student’s even earned an undergraduate degree.

One such student, Cheryl Brown, received her Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship in 2018 and thanks to SMART Track earned a Master of Business Administration in 2020.

“If I had to go to a brick-and-mortar classroom, I never would have made it through to completion,” Brown says. “[the] University has allowed me, a working wife and mom, to obtain a degree that not only will secure my current contract but open doors for the future.”

Understanding the Commitment

The benefits of earning a master’s degree – next level skills, better job security, and better job prospects, among others – continue to drive more students and professionals toward a graduate education. However, when forecasting your future career options, you’ll want to fully understand the commitment before making a decision. If you’re ready to take the next step, talk to an advisor today.

Certain master’s degree programs may not be available in all states.

* The transferability of credits is subject to the University of Arizona Global Campus transfer credit policies and requires the submission of official transcripts. The official transcripts will be evaluated to determine the credits that will officially apply toward a UAGC degree program.


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