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
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
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
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
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
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.