BYU-Idaho To Launch 3-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program

A new program at Brigham Young University-Idaho and Ensign College will let students earn an online bachelor's degree in three years by eliminating elective credits.
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Published on September 6, 2023
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  • BYU-Idaho and Ensign College will begin offering three-year, online bachelor's degrees starting in April 2024.
  • The program allows students to earn professional certificates in tandem with their degree.
  • The total price tag is $7,200, according to a video from BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the online higher education institution that will provide the degree with the schools.
  • Degrees are offered in business, information technology, communications, family and human services, applied health, and other fields.

A new online bachelor's degree program at Brigham Young University-Idaho and Ensign College will let students complete their degree in three years by eliminating elective credits — a move that school officials hope will make higher education more accessible.

Students will have access to the new three-year degrees, which will feature 90-96 credits as opposed to the 120 a bachelor's degree typically requires, online via the BYU-Pathway Worldwide, an online higher education organization formed in 2017 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The degree programs will launch in April 2024.

Available degrees include:

  • Applied business management
  • Applied health
  • Communication
  • Family and human services
  • Information technology
  • Professional studies
  • Software development

Both new students enrolling in the fall and returning students are eligible to enroll in the three-year degree program, according to the program website. The degree program is built around flexibility and aims to save students money by cutting back on the number of credits required to finish the bachelor's degree.

The degree program features three career-oriented certificate programs in addition to general education. New students will start their degree program in the six-month PathwayConnect program, according to a YouTube video by BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Students will then move on to a six-month certificate program to gain relevant, job-ready credentials. Students then take a year to earn an additional certificate and general education. By then, students will have earned an associate degree. Students then spend the last year earning another certificate in tandem with additional general education courses.

Earning professional certificates while working toward a degree means that students don't have to wait until they finish their education to land a better job opportunity, according to the video.

The degree program comes in at a total cost of $7,200 for students in the U.S., according to the video.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide President Brian K. Ashton said online BYU-Idaho and Ensign College students often work full time and are typically first-generation students.

They need options that help them earn a degree as efficiently as possible, Ashton said. The new degree structure increases the likelihood of graduation while preserving all learning outcomes to prepare them for jobs and careers.

Church Educational System (CES) Commissioner Elder Clark G. Gilbert said in a press release that the new degree structure will make completing a degree a possibility for many more people, particularly those who have not felt higher education was a viable option for them.

BYU-Idaho and Ensign College received accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities for the three-year online bachelor's degree program, according to a release from the schools, becoming some of the first schools to receive official approval for the truncated degree structure.

But BYU-Idaho and Ensign aren't the only schools exploring the fast-tracked degree structure. BYU-Idaho participated in a “College in 3” consortium led by the University of Minnesota Rochester and the University of Pennsylvania to look at possibilities for three-year degree programs.