Which Degree
































































































































































































Unauthorized reproduction prohibited


Copyright   Lawrie Miller  1997 - 2004







Three degree guides are currently offered:


1. A bachelor of science accelerated degree (without major)

2. A bachelor of science degree in Business Administration

3. A second bachelor degree with an example major in Psychology










The Bachelor of Science degree 

The BS liberal arts degree was chosen for inclusion in the series because of its inherent flexibility. Although the focus of BA in 4 Weeks is credit by examination,  this degree’s requirements allow students to incorporate a host of disparate credit of any vintage in their degree plan.  For those with sufficient existing credit, this regionally accredited degree can be completed very quickly indeed.


Many adult learners already possess “legacy credit”, residual from long forgotten coursework at junior colleges or professional credit earned during the course of their career.  The BS or BA degree with a general concentration in Liberal Studies (effectively a broad-based degree program with no major) provides the most accommodating repository available for this flotsam.


The degree is awarded as a “Bachelor of Science”, or “Bachelor of Arts” with no mention of concentration on the degree diploma. The transcript denotes the award as a BS  or BA, and the concentration is detailed separately.


One of the major providers, Charter Oak State College, warns prospective students that this flexibility is not an invitation to students to manipulate the rules to stuff their degree programs with detritus. Sensitive readers may justifiably be perturbed that a major assessment institution should a priori, consider them capable of such unethical behavior.


Fret not, the guidelines are clear - that learners are free to derive the maximum benefit possible from their distance learning experience, by way of legitimate choices made within the limits of the rules of their degree programs. The degree plan articulated in the BA in 4 Weeks bachelor degree guide, takes full advantage of every opportunity afforded students by the policies and procedures of the conferring institutions.



Degrees with a major

The BA and BS degrees from Excelsior College School of Liberal Arts are offered in a range of majors. Excelsior moved from conferring these degrees with concentration to conferring them with major in January 2003. The degree requirements are the same as before, but it means that degrees are now conferred in named disciplines. That is, say, the BS with 30 semester hours concentration in Math, is conferred as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. The degree major of the BA or BS in Psychology can be earned in its entirety by passing one (that is 1) GRE subject exam at the appropriate level, plus one 3-credit ECE test pass in Psych research methods. Pass the GRE subject exam in Physics with a score above the 80th percentile plus two labs, and earn a complete major in that discipline. Graduate with a  Bachelor of Science in Physics.




The degree program configurations presented in the BA in 4 Weeks degree guides are the simplest and most convenient arrangements possible. Consider them malleable templates. Learners may choose to accrue credit by varied means and mould their plan to suit their unique interests and abilities.





Special advantages of these degrees


Detailed elsewhere in BA in 4 Weeks, but worth the retelling here for those who will not read the whole text (I’m hurt), are assessment institution policies on transcribing existing credit you bring with you at enrollment, and new credit you earn after enrollment.


What you get for the enrollment fee

The annual enrollment fee covers academic advisement, the evaluation and transcribing of any credit earned at a regionally accredited college or university, credit earned from passes in the standard proficiency exams featured in BA in 4 Weeks, or credit earned elsewhere and by other means that has been ACE evaluated for equivalency. There is no per-credit fee paid to add credit to your academic record. Note that the annual enrollment fee does not cover the cost of proficiency tests or credit-bearing courses, or other services such as portfolio construction and presentations, the evaluation of foreign credentials, or the custom evaluation of many non ACE evaluated certifications.


It is the case that TESC offer a “comprehensive fee” option that does include in addition to the benefits above, the provision of a limited number of tests and courses. However, this is a different matter than the straight enrollment fee.



Things you can do with your grades

No failing grade will be accepted or transcribed, and that policy has far-reaching consequences. It means of course, no failing grade can appear on your academic record. Certainly good news for some of us. Additionally, you may selectively suppress any course credit you happen to bring with you or that you earn subsequent to enrollment. That is, you can discard poor grades at your discretion. It means you can bide your time, complete degree requirements, then looking at all your results, cherry pick which credit you want to appear in your final transcript.


The effect of these rules (no failing grades, option to discard graded passes) is that with judicious application, they can do wonders for your GPA. You will need to have suitable alternate credit  before you can dump the poor stuff, but excess duplicate credit is not at all uncommon, if you have earned college credit prior to enrollment, or taken GRE subject exams which may duplicate some credit earned in a related discipline.


Finally, straight pass credit (that is, credit without banded grades – usually letters, A, B, C) is simply ignored when calculating GPA. The three main assessment colleges have different policies regarding letter grading. Thomas Edison State College (TESC) does not assign letter grades to proficiency exams, only “pass”, Charter Oak does so selectively, and Excelsior College does in most cases. These differences can become important if, say, you find yourself with lousy exam grades across the board. You can choose to enroll in TESC, receive the standard “pass” credit, and never expose any of those pesky “C”s to the light of day; ever. Regretfully, that means there will be no ready way decision makers can calculate your less than stellar 2.0 grade point average (which, of course, is the point).


There are other useful permutations and important caveats detailed in the first few chapters of this work. I recommend you take time to go over them thoroughly before you commit to any action.



Things you can do with your test scores

One other related factoid; test results are usually sent from exam provider to college, direct (it's required). The exam providers (excepting ETS - subject GRE ) will suppress the transmission of any individual test result or collection of test results upon request (your request). This is useful if you have occasion to send the results to, say, a more traditional college or university. You might prefer them to consider your good grades but you may not want them to have to bother with those poor scores that are, after all,  aberrations, and not indicative of your true academic worth. The thoughtful student then, might opt to render overworked college admissions officers such assistance, by suppressing these.






Website Lawrie Miller 2001-2004