September 5, 2017

Purdue Liberal Arts launches 3-year degree tracks

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Students in Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts will be able to complete their degrees in three years with the launch of Degree in 3, announced Tuesday (Sept. 5) by Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Dean David A. Reingold.

“The notion that it requires four years to complete an undergraduate degree is really little more than a matter of tradition, a uniquely American tradition,” Daniels said. “That this college is moving ahead to offer students the opportunity to accelerate their education and do it in an economical way is a great testament to the efforts of the entire CLA faculty and its leaders. All of this, it’s important to note, is without reducing the requirements or the quality of the degree. That its degrees will now be attainable in three years sets our College of Liberal Arts apart from its counterparts and marks it as a leader nationally.”

Reingold, the Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts, said Degree in 3 is the path forward for undergraduate liberal arts education. It provides a comprehensive array of three-year plans from all 10 academic schools and departments. For 85 percent of incoming students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts from the College, a three-year path to degree is an option this fall. With additional three-year plans to be developed, Purdue is the place for students interested in faster time to degree in the liberal arts.

The estimated cost savings from a traditional four-year to three-year completion are:
* Resident - $9,021
* Non-Resident - $18,422
* International - $19,422

“As we look at undergraduate liberal arts education, this is a compelling option,” Reingold said. “It positions students to meld the benefits of the in-demand skills a liberal arts degree provides—great communication, creative thinking, and analytical problem solving—with an exceptional value proposition. We hear the concerns about the cost of higher education. Degree in 3 offers savings over a four-year degree. Add to that the income these students will enjoy by virtue of entering the workforce a year earlier. That extra year of earning power will put them ahead of their peers on the road to success.”

Reingold added: “It is incumbent upon leaders in higher education to find innovative solutions to remain viable and to remain relevant. Degree in 3 is the essence of innovation. We anticipate that students will see this, too, with a three-year degree becoming increasingly common in our college and I suspect in 21st-century undergraduate education in general.”

Students in Degree in 3 can choose from majors within each of the College’s academic units that lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Only one degree category, that of Bachelor of Fine Arts, will not have the three-year option due to additional credit requirements.

Students also can work with an academic adviser to create their own plan of study. All degrees fulfill the same 120 credit hours and overall requirements of a four-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree. No Advanced Placement or dual credit courses are required for a student to complete a Degree in 3. Students will have the opportunity to participate in study abroad, internships, and campus life, building a robust three-year college experience.

Purdue will allow flexibility of student aid and scholarships for students who choose Degree in 3. Whether students receive need or merit-based aid, those who declare the Degree in 3 option will be able to condense that support into their three years of study.

“This is not for the faint of heart,” Reingold said. “Degree in 3 students will be in school year-round and will carry a full load of classes. It will be challenging. To assist these students, we will offer an exclusive learning community and targeted academic advising support. But for the students who are up for the challenge, it is an opportunity to accelerate their future and enter the workforce or graduate school faster. It will reflect a particular focus and work ethic that will set these students apart.” 

Students are encouraged to declare the Degree in 3 option by the end of their first year at Purdue. Degree in 3 is available to new freshmen with majors in the College of Liberal Arts. Additional information is available online at

Purdue News Service contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,  

Source: David A. Reingold,

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