In Feb 2017 the universities minister Jo Johnson MP ( brother of Boris) announced that a “new generation” of two-year fast-track (accelerated) degrees are going to be offered to students.
Here at Staffs Uni Business School we have been delivering two-year fast-track degrees for the past 8 years with great success including Accounting & Finance, Business Management, Tourism and Events Management. We were amongst the original pioneers of fast-track degrees!
Doubters and cynics are wrong (in my opinion!)
Like all new ideas and initiatives, the fast-track schemes have their doubters. We were told that there would not be a demand for fast-track degrees. We felt confident that the demand would be there and adopted the Kevin Costner “build it and they will come” approach (have you seen Field of Dreams?) – and come they did!
The Twitter hashtag #fasttrackdegrees reveals some doubters as to the validity of fast-track degrees. Also the University and College Union general secretary was quoted last week as saying “Accelerated degrees risk undermining the well-rounded education upon which our universities’ reputation is based”.
These unnecessarily negative perceptions have prompted me to put pen to paper (figuratively!) to dispel their doubts and concerns and explain the fast-track benefits in the tables below:
Perceptions vs Reality
|“The courses of study will be too intense for students”||Students study with and at the same pace as the three-year students with an extra ten weeks during the normal four month summer break – still plenty of time for R&R!|
|“The fast-track courses will not cover the same depth of subjects as the three-year versions”||The content is the same breadth and depth as the three-year degree courses
|“The students will not have enough holidays over Christmas and Easter”||Fast-track students have the same holidays over Christmas and Easter as the three-year students|
|“The students will not have sufficient time during the traditional four month summer break to “wind down”, go travelling & gain work”||The fast-track summer semester combines a two-week intensive study school followed by distance learning allowing students to self-manage their study time|
|“Academic staff will not be available to teach during the summer”||Teaching is spread out amongst the teaching teams to cover all bases|
|“The work load on staff will be too great”||The two-week study school is intensive – but enjoyed by staff!|
|“Employers will not value fast-track degrees”
|On the contrary – employers value fast-trackers’ drive to succeed in two years|
Reasons to choose a Fast-Track degree
- Graduate one year earlier than otherwise – so you are able to get “lift-off” in your career before your friends who go down the three-year route
- Save a year’s money on living expenses
- Study with a like-minded group of committed students who are focussed on success and provide mutual support
- Stand out in the crowd – showing the ability and motivation to achieve a degree in two years is something to brag about in an interview!
- Whether you want to change career or were not sure of what you wanted to do after school/college – this gives you a quick way of repositioning yourself in your career.
I enjoy teaching the fast-trackers students during the two-week “study school” phase during the first summer. We spend 15 hours together over 3 days studying taxation – I can assure you that this is a real bonding experience and it doesn’t take long for the banter to start (both ways!).
We are very proud of the great students who have graduated from our fast-track degrees. I am confident that our fast-track courses will grow and become more mainstream in the future.
So, what are you waiting for?
Tony Bickley MBA ACA PGCE SHEA
School of Business, Leadership and Economics