Best Online Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees

An accelerated online bachelor's degree can help you graduate and launch your career faster. Learn more about popular accelerated bachelor's programs.
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Updated on April 29, 2024
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Looking to finish your bachelor's degree faster? Consider an accelerated degree program. These programs require students to manage a heavier course load at a faster pace, but they can help learners graduate in half the time.

Online accelerated bachelor's degree programs provide the same education as their on-campus counterparts, but they often offer benefits like flexible scheduling, lower tuition, and asynchronous studying.

Many majors are offered as online bachelor's degree programs, so many students can find one that fits their academic and career goals. We'll walk you through some of the best programs and lay out everything you need to know about accelerated bachelor's degrees.

Featured Online Bachelor's Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Is an Accelerated Bachelor's Degree Program?

Accelerated bachelor's degree programs can help you graduate faster by condensing a four-year curriculum into 2-3 years. These programs require students to complete higher course loads at a faster pace in order to finish their studies more quickly.

Accelerated programs can appeal to working professionals and busy students as they can progress faster through the courses. However, these programs also require a larger time commitment during those 2-3 years.

Transfer students who already possess an associate deree or equivalent credits many be able to graduate from an accelerated bachelor's degree program in 1-2 years.

4 Things to Know About Accelerated Bachelor's Degrees

Accelerated bachelor's degrees allow you to complete your graduation requirements in less time. Here are four things you should know before you enroll in an accelerated bachelor's degree program.

1. Pacing and Scheduling

Accelerated programs typically require an intense pace — you'll be learning more in shorter periods of time. Accelerated programs usually offer condensed classes that last 5-10 weeks versus the traditional 15 weeks, allowing you to take 1-2 accelerated classes simultaneously.

Accelerated bachelor's programs can be completed in 2-3 years, compared to the traditional four years it takes to earn a bachelor's degree.

2. Degree-Completion Programs

Degree-completion programs can help you earn your degree in a shorter period by counting your prior college credits. Most degree-completion programs take 1-2 years compared to the traditional four years.

Some degree-completion programs are also designed for people who have graduated with an associate degree but want to earn a bachelor's degree. For example, RN-to-BSN programs let prospective nurses with an associate degree or nursing diploma earn their bachelor's degree in nursing in 1-2 years.

3. Dual Degree Programs

Dual degree programs allow you to complete two degrees in an accelerated format. While double majors lead to one degree in two subjects, dual degrees confer two separate degrees.

Certain dual degree programs offer combined bachelor's and master's degrees, such as 4+1 programs, which add a one-year master's degree to your bachelor's degree program.

4. Accreditation

Accreditation guarantees that your institution meets high educational standards. You should verify that the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education recognizes your school's accreditation.

If you attend an improperly accredited institution, you cannot qualify for federal financial aid, and employers may not recognize your degree as legitimate. An unaccredited program can also limit your ability to transfer credits and apply to graduate school.

10 Popular Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degrees

There are many online accelerated bachelor's degree programs, ranging in fields from healthcare and business to liberal arts, communication, and computer science. Here are some of the most popular programs.

1. Accounting

A bachelor's in accounting can prepare you for roles such as accountant, auditor, financial analyst, tax manager, and actuary. In this program, you can expect to take courses in accounting ethics, auditing, taxation, and business law.

Accelerated online bachelor's in accounting programs typically take fewer than three years to complete.

2. Business

A business degree can help you build skills for a variety of career fields, including accounting, marketing, human resources, and management. Many schools also offer concentrations in topics such as business administration, business management, and business law.

Most accelerated online bachelor's degrees in business take 2-3 years to complete. Although the required 120-credit standard is usually maintained, class sessions are condensed.

3. Communications

A bachelor's in communication program can give you the broad foundation for a career in journalism, public relations, writing, editing, and more. Common courses include foundations of communications, technical writing, and public speaking.

An accelerated online bachelor's in communication can often be completed in 2-3 years. It can also serve as a degree-completion program for students who hold an associate degree or other transfer credits.

4. Criminal Justice

Bachelor's in criminal justice programs include classes focused on the U.S. correctional system and law enforcement, criminology, cybercrime, ethics in criminal justice, and forensic science.

Accelerated programs take 2-3 years compared to the traditional four years. Some programs will let you apply credits from previous college coursework or law enforcement experience to your criminal justice degree.

5. Cybersecurity

Pursuing a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity will put you at the forefront of a fast-growing field that is rapidly hiring. Some schools offer concentrations that can help you build specialized skills in areas including computer forensics, software security, and ethical hacking.

Full-time online bachelor's in cybersecurity programs take four years to complete, but many accelerated programs can be done in around two years.

6. Education

A bachelor's degree in education can help you pursue a career in teaching or administration. Many programs include a general education curriculum and a specific concentration, such as a specific age group or subject area.

An accelerated bachelor's degree in education usually takes at least two years to earn. However, if you have previous credits or work experience, you may be able to advance at an even faster pace.

7. Healthcare Administration

Earning a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration prepares you for non-clinical jobs in the healthcare industry. These programs prepare students with the necessary skills to organize and oversee healthcare services in hospitals, physician practices, or long-term care facilities.

If you already have an associate degree or bachelor's degree in another discipline, you can expect to complete an accelerated bachelor's in healthcare administration in 1-2 years.

8. Mathematics

Bachelor's degree in mathematics programs explore both pure and applied math and can include courses in statistics, mathematical computing, and math education. Some programs offer specializations in subjects like data science and math computing.

An accelerated bachelor's degree in mathematics can cut a year off of study, allowing you to graduate within three years by condensing your course load. Some fast-tracked programs can be completed in two years.

9. Nursing, RN-to-BSN

A bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) is one of the most popular degrees for new nurses. Online BSN programs can take 1-4 years to complete, depending on your prior education and experience.

Accelerated BSN programs can be completed in 2-3 years. RN-to-BSN programs allow licensed registered nurses (RNs) to obtain their bachelor's degree in approximately two years. However, transfer credits can shorten that timeline to just a year.

10. Psychology

A bachelor's degree in psychology can prepare you for a variety of careers after college or to pursue advanced degrees. Common classes include clinical psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive development.

Certain students in an accelerated bachelor's degree in psychology program may be able to complete their degree in less than two years by taking a condensed course load.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Online Bachelor's Programs

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree worth it?

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An accelerated bachelor's degree can be worth it if you are looking to enter the workforce quickly or advance in your current position. An accelerated program requires strong time management skills and keeping up with an intensive pace.

However, it can also lead to increased potential earnings by entering your field sooner than you would if completing a traditional four-year program.

You should expect the same coursework as a conventional program, covering identical material in a concentrated time. Because you'll spend less time in school, you may also save money on associated costs.

Can I finish my bachelor's degree online?

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Yes. Many online degree-completion programs are designed for students who started their undergraduate degree but did not finish. Other programs target students who earned their associate degree, or veterans who want to leverage their experience and skills.

You may face challenges completing a program for several reasons, including financial hardship, work schedules, and family responsibilities. But online programs offer the flexibility to help working adults and those caring for family members pursue their academic goals. Asynchronous learning formats can provide more schedule flexibility.

What is the fastest way to finish a bachelor's degree?

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The quickest way to complete a bachelor's degree is to take advantage of all the options a school offers to reduce completion times. These options include taking accelerated courses, transferring credits, and completing tests to earn credits for prior knowledge of a subject.

You can take tests through CLEP and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. In addition, taking AP courses and passing the AP exams in high school may result in college credits or allow you to skip general education courses. If you have several years of work or military experience, you can also receive credits for life experience.

Can you complete a bachelor's degree in one year?

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You can complete a bachelor's degree in one year if you have a sufficient number of transferable credits and enroll in an accelerated bachelor's degree program. Any opportunity to earn more college credits can speed up the time to completion.

Finishing your degree in one year may require full-time and year-round enrollment. You should prepare yourself for intense workloads and keep your end goals in sight if you find yourself overwhelmed. Because online programs offer greater flexibility, you can usually schedule your studies around work and other commitments.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed April 26, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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