Purdue Offers 3-Year Degrees In Communication

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August 12, 2014 —

INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue University will offer three-year communication degrees as part of a larger effort to make college more affordable – but that doesn’t mean students will take fewer credits.

University President Mitch Daniels picked a proposal from the Brian Lamb School of Communication to offer five majors as three-year degrees. The communication school will receive $500,000 in prize money for winning a challenge that Daniels issued through an open letter to the university’s departments in January.

“In fields of study where they are feasible, three-year degrees may become a new norm in higher education, based on their big advantages in affordability and in speeding a student’s entry into the world of productive work,” Daniels said in a prepared statement.

“We want Purdue to be at the front edge of innovations like this, which was the point of the prize incentive,” he said.

The estimated cost savings for the three-year program is $9,290 for Indiana residents, $18,692 for nonresidents and $20,252 for international students.

Daniels also challenged departments to propose a competency-based degree. The winner of that challenge will be announced later this month, Purdue officials said.

Daniels said the communication school’s three-year degree proposal beat out others because it involved in so many majors and could be available this fall.

“Now let’s hope that other departments catch the spirit and fashion their own such offerings,” Daniels said.

The program – called Think 3 Years! – begins this fall, said Marifran Mattson, head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

The accelerated plan of study requires the same number of total credit hours, 120, as the four-year plan for general communication, public relations and strategic communication, mass communication, corporate communication, and human relations. The four-year program is still available.

“If students commit to the three-year program – and we’re asking them to do that within their first year – we promise that we will have the classes available,” Mattson said. “We’ll have seats in those classes for them.”

The three-year program requires summer courses.

“Our school’s goal is to become the preferred destination for students interested in studying communication,” Mattson said. “And we determined that with thoughtful planning, each of our five majors can be accomplished in three years. Students also will be able to participate in a study abroad program. And those students who arrive with advanced placement or other course credit will have more flexibility in shaping their program.”

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