UK government considers accelerated degree programmes

The UK government has launched a consultation on proposals for a much wider range of two-year degree programmes to be implemented.

Unveiling the consultation last week, the Department of Education (DoE) said that accelerated two-year degrees would provide the same qualifications and would be quality assured in the same way, just delivered in a shorter, more intense time span.


Although the fees and implications for non-EU students were not mentioned in the initial proposal, DoE said that providers would be able to charge up to 20 per cent per annum more for an accelerated two-year degree for domestic/EU students, providing a saving of around UK£6,000 for domestic/EU students, compared with the typical fees on a three-year bachelor programme.


It was claimed that for the taxpayer it would equate to a lower tuition loan outlay and higher rates of repayment on student loans.


If given parliamentary approval, the two-year degree option will be in place for September 2019. The Office for Students, the new sector regulator due to become a legal entity in 2018, will support the provision of two-year courses.


Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, said, "For too long we have been stuck with a system that has increasingly focused on offering only one way of benefiting from higher education, via the classic three-year degree programme.


"The passage of the Higher Education and Research Act this year has finally enabled us to break the mould of this one-size-fits-all system so students have much more choice over how they learn.


"Many will want to stick with the classic three-year university experience, but for highly motivated students hungry for a faster pace of learning and a quicker route into or back into work, at lower overall cost, two-year degrees will be well worth considering."


Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said, they would be an attractive option for mature students that had missed out on the opportunity to go to university at a younger age.


There are a range of accelerated courses currently on offer - including Law, Accountancy and English - but the government's aim is make more courses available across the widest possible range of subjects.


The consultation will run until February 2018.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor