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Accelerated degrees in the Arts & Sciences with 4+1

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For those looking to fast-track their careers, an accelerated master’s program may be the perfect solution.

The University of Delaware (UD) offers a unique program for students looking to enter their careers with a master’s degree at a faster pace -- one that continues to expand across the UD College of Arts and Sciences.

4+1 means exactly what it sounds like. Undergraduate UD students have the opportunity to complete a traditional four-year bachelor's program plus a master's program in one additional (+1) year. Students must apply no later than their junior year, allowing for overlap of graduate and undergraduate coursework during their senior year.​​

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Two degrees in five years

“One of my professors who I would meet with to talk about internships and things like that mentioned to me that I would be a good candidate for the program,” said Kendall Keough, a 2020 graduate of the Fashion and Apparel Studies 4+1 program. “For me, one of the key benefits was learning to think critically and problem solve.”

Keough, now a planning analyst at Macy’s, began her 4+1 journey in her junior year. With extra room in her course schedule, she opted to extend her college career and earn a master’s degree by opting into the program. Through her experience, she was able to win a case study competition with the national Fashion Scholarship Fund, as well as present her research to the sourcing team at Under Armour and attend a seminar hosted by the United States International Trade Commission.

“I do think that it has given me the ability to think differently than my peers. If both of us are having the same problem, I feel like I've been able to figure out solutions faster,” Keough explained. In classes of just 8 to 15 students throughout her program, Kendall says she received valuable experiences and insight that helped her get the job she has today.​​

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A growing trend of dual degrees

Sheng Lu, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the UD Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, was one of the conduits to Keough joining the 4+1 program. “I definitely want to continue to improve students’ learning experiences and create even more opportunities for them,” said Lu.

Lu began directing the Fashion 4+1 program last fall. He has two goals for the program: to create more awareness and to create more connections. The program is slowly growing in popularity, with approximately two students enrolled in the program per year. However, Lu would like to see more students try out a 4+1 offering.

“I'm currently working with some industry partners, especially in my research area, to really allow me to have the chance to work with the industry very closely,” shared Lu of his efforts to broaden the opportunities this accelerated program offers. In the future, he hopes to create and nurture lon​g-term industry partnerships that may lead to paid internships focused on high-level research and sponsored by scholarships for those in the fashion 4+1 program.

A total of 15 departments across the College of Arts and Sciences also offer a 4+1 option for their students, including the UD Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Laura Salsini, the director of the Italian Studies BA/MA 4+1 program, shares the same wish as Lu: that more students become aware of this unique opportunity. The department also offers two 4+1 programs that allow for a student to earn a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s focused on education in languages, literatures and cultures within five years.

“We hope that more students take advantage of this degree,” said Salsini, a professor of Italian at UD who noted that many language students often enroll in dual academic programming or 4+1 offerings. “We also hope that more faculty from other departments recognize how valuable it is to have these students [4+1] in their classes.”​​

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4+1 across the arts and sciences

Students interested in applying to join a 4+1 program should apply using the UD Graduate​​ Course Approval Form for 4+1 Admission Application provided by the UD Graduate College. Students are advised to speak with their academic program prior to submitting the application. Applications must be submitted by a student’s junior year of undergraduate study.

Below is a list of departments and units within the College of Arts and Sciences that currently offer 4+1 program opportunities for undergraduate students:

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​​​​Article by Gina Cosenza

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For those looking to fast-track their careers, an accelerated master’s program may be the perfect solution.
8/29/2022
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