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Ba In 4 Weeks

Unauthorized reproduction prohibited


Copyright   Lawrie Miller  1997 - 2004 












Second Degree



This manual is specifically tailored to earning a second bachelor  degree from Excelsior College, Albany, NY.  Excelsior college is a  regionally accredited institution. Regional accreditation is the gold  standard of higher education institution legitimacy in the United  States.


Excelsior College has not endorsed in any way, any information or advice contained in these web pages. The views expressed are   those of the author alone. Readers are urged to review the  disclaimer and copyright notices accompanying this work.Notices







As of 1st January 2003, degrees in the Liberal Arts program are conferred with majors rather than with concentrations. This is purely a change in nomenclature and does not signal any substantive change in degree structure.



You can earn two degrees from any of the three assessment institutions, Charter Oak State College (COSC), Excelsior College, or Thomas Edison State College (TESC).


Excelsior College does not let their Liberal Arts program graduates earn a second BS or BA in that program, but will allow Liberal Arts graduates of other schools to earn a second Liberal Arts BS or BA with major.


Excelsior will allow their Liberal Arts program graduates to earn a second bachelor degree in an Excelsior program other than Liberal Arts - i.e., in, the Business program, the Technology program, or the Nursing program.


COSC will allow a second degree, but it will be in General Studies with a specialization or concentration (COSC degrees are all General Studies by major).


TESC will allow a second degree BA with general concentrations, designated - BA in Humanities; BA in Math/Science; BA in Social Science/History. They also allow a BA with a specialization (“major area of study” - much like the Excelsior concentration/major) in a variety of subjects. Additionally, they offer degrees with majors - BS Applied Science and Technology, BS Business, and BS Human Services.


This guide details how a second degree can be earned in the Excelsior College Liberal Arts program in under three hours of testing, exclusively by way of the GRE subjects exams.




Graduate Record Subject Examinations are offered in a variety of disciplines. Their primary purpose is to test the readiness of candidates for graduate study in a particular field. Most examinees writing these exams are bachelor graduates in the specific field or in a related discipline. . Excelsior College is the only assessment institution to award enough credit for a score in the GRE subject exam, to meet all requirements of a major or to trigger conferral of a second degree based solely on one's performance in that exam. Empire State College (not an assessment college – requires that 30+ credits be earned “in-house”) will award up to 36 semester hours credit for a suitable performance in the GRE subject exam.


GRE subject exams are not  the same animal as the GRE General exam. They are a different species. Knowledge of basic algebra, geometry, or synonums and antynoms, will not be enough to cut it in these tests. However, with that said, although the majority of GRE subject test examinees may be graduates in the field, this does not mean examinees who are neither graduates in the discipline or indeed graduates at all, cannot pass these tests at the required level. They can and frequently do. I used the GRE subject test in Political Science to provided all the necessary concentration credit for my first Excelsior College degree. I wrote another GRE subject exam in Psychology, garnering an additional 30 semester hours credit.




GRE subject examinations are an endangered species, and it seems that with every passing exam diet there are fewer from which to choose. So if you're toying with the idea of doing this, don't hang about too long. Remember, you can earn such a degree by taking just one exam for about $130.














Majors in numerous subjects can be completed by Excelsior College students by scoring above the 80th percentile in an appropriate GRE subject examination.


Credit is awarded on a sliding scale, from 3 credits for a score above the 35th percentile to 30 credits for a score above the 80th percentile. Increment rate is 3 credit hours per 5 percentile increase in score. The first 12 credits are awarded as lower division credits, and the rest as upper division credits. Thus a score above the 80th percentile yields 12 lower division credits and 18 upper division credits, for a total of 30 credits. The minimum requirements for a major is 30 credits with a minimum of 15 in the upper division. Therefore, passing a GRE subject exam above the 80th percentile satisfies the major’ requirements, and all requirements for award of a second degree.


A list of acceptable GRE subject exams and their required scaled scores can be found at




Best are the "Practicing to take the [Economics/Physics etc.]" book series from ETS, who produce the actual GRE advanced subject exams. These are not study guides but past examination papers. They are the best indicator of what you know, what you don't know, and where you should concentrate your efforts within the relevant discipline. They are starting to go out of print, but often there are remainders.



GRE subject exams official practice test books


·  Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

·  Biology

·  Chemistry

·  Computer Science

·  Literature in English

·  Mathematics

·  Physics

·  Psychology



Another great resource, is an abbreviated version of the above publications, available free in PDF format from ETS . . .



GRE subject exams practice materials


·  Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

·  Biology

·  Chemistry

·  Computer Science

·  Literature in English

·  Mathematics

·  Physics

·  Psychology


Most of the study guides from other publishers are of limited value. One notable exception is the series from The Princeton Review called "Cracking the GRE"... (Biology, Literature, Psychology etc.). I've used the Psychology offering and found it useful. The study notes are directly applicable to the GRE subject exam. The test questions are very close in level of difficulty and in scope to that of the actual exam. There are full answers to the questions in a subsequent section. Unfortunately, only 35 questions are included.




Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE - subject exams - offerings . . . . .


·  Biology

·  Chemistry

·  Literature

·  Mathematics

·  Psychology






If using the Psychology offering, be sure to know and understand everything in this very thin volume. If you do, you will score above the 80th percentile.


The Research & Education Association (REA) publishes a series of preparation guides for all the subject exams. These usually contain more than one full mock exam with answers (e.g. the mathematics book contains six full exams) and many of the books provide study notes. I found the study notes in the political science guide quite useful (GRE no longer offers the Political Science subject exam, unfortunately).


However, the level of difficulty and focus of the questions did not reflect that of the actual GRE subject exam. This seems to be a common trait in the REA series. The REA Psychology book was of limited value.


Other Psychology study guides from Arco and Barron's I found more a hindrance than a help, though the Barron's book was comprehensive, it lacked the keen focus of the Princeton offering.




Go to the site and register for the subject exam of choice.

Register for the Graduate Record Subject Examination



Sit GRE subject exam of choice for which there is a corresponding Excelsior major.



Have ETS send your GRE results to Excelsior College. When you receive your score (from ETS), and if it's above the 80th percentile, immediately enroll in Excelsior College (they will already have your GRE scores) and, in addition to the enrollment fee, pay the graduation fee, for you have already met the requirements for a second degree BS or BA - 30 credits in the major of which at least 15 must be upper division, you would have 18 UD + 12 LD for a total of 30 credits. Total cost including exam fees, books, college enrollment fee and graduation fees, under $1600.






ETS "practicing to take" exam papers series: MUST BUY $15 and up


Princeton Review "Cracking the GRE" series: MUST BUY (if applicable) $20


REA "preparation for the GRE" series: BUY (with reservations) $25

REA "Problem Solvers" series, Psychology: BUY $20


Barron's How to Prepare for the Gre Psychology


 Arco Gre Psychology: "Everything You Need to Score High"




Finally, Excelsior College  produces recommended reading lists for many of  the GRE subject exams.



Website © Lawrie Miller 2001-2004





















Online Bachelor Degrees

BA in 4 Weeks describes how legitimate college credit and a fast, economical associate’s (AA or AS) degree or bachelor degree (BA or BS), may be earned by way of standardized proficiency exams, comprising CLEP, DANTES (DSST), ECE (formerly ACT/PEP), GRE subject, and TECEP.


Distance learning focused regionally accredited assessment colleges and universities accepting 100%  exam based credit include, Charter Oak State College ( COSC ), Excelsior College (formerly Regents college of the University of the State of New York (USNY)), Thomas Edison State College (TESC), and the Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Trustees (BOT) BA degree programs offered by several universities in Illinois.


Both online bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees are offered in a wide variety of academic and professional disciplines in the Liberal Arts, in Accountancy, Business Administration, Computer Information systems, History, Nursing, Psychology, and on. All can be earned by testing out. Degrees from Excelsior College offer students using exam-based credit,  the singular opportunity to construct a first class grade point average (GPA), which may prove useful in submission of academic transcripts to graduate schools or in application for employment.



Online Graduate Degrees

Accelerated, accredited online master degrees are listed and will be reviewed in-depth. Distance learning online graduate degrees covered include MA, MBA, M.Ed., MS, M.Eng., MSc, LLM, and Ph.D. All graduate programs listed are 100% distance degrees, and the majority are administered entirely online via the World Wide Web. Many disciplines are represented, including, master degree offerings in Liberal studies and in the Sciences, in Accountancy, Business Administration, computer engineering and computer studies, political science, psychology, teaching, religion, and the Social Services.








Criteria for inclusion include:


1. Legitimacy of the institution  - defined as, state funded, and recognized by the government of the country as an institution of higher learning, or, in the case of US institutions, they may be public or private, but they must be regionally accredited.


2. Programs must be truly distance learning programs - There must be no requirement for any visits to the administering institution or its agents, other than occasional local excursions for the purposes of writing proctored exams. Note that programs listed may recommend and offer face to face seminars and other personal encounters, but none are required.









Note that the colleges and universities listed and featured in the body of work comprising, BA in 4 Weeks, are either US regionally accredited or the foreign equivalent thereof. Served advertisements of institutions appearing in are screened to remove the worthless offerings. Since specific advertisers and advertisements cannot be determined a priori, filtering occurs after the fact of a first appearance.


Advertisements for regionally accredited institutions, DETC accredited institutions, and the foreign equivalent of regionally accredited institutions, may appear on this website. Rarely, the advertisements of not yet accredited institutions that are in the author’s view, otherwise legitimate, may also appear.


Third party vendors are also screened and those whose niche is the promotion of unaccredited colleges and universities, are removed. The remainder who promote schools, promote overwhelmingly, accredited schools, but even they from time to time may deal in material pertaining to unaccredited schools. Every effort is made to filter the undesirable, but this is not an exact science and there is no way to predict what others may decide to publish on their websites.


Readers are urged to do due diligence on, and to check the accreditation of, any school before committing to a program of study.