Beginning in April 2024, BYU–Idaho and Ensign College, with the support of BYU–Pathway Worldwide, will offer 90–96 credit degrees that will allow students to complete an online bachelor’s degree in three years. The new degrees, approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), preserve all required major and general education courses while eliminating elective credits.
BYU–Idaho, Ensign College and BYU–Pathway Worldwide are part of the Church Educational System (CES) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. CES continually seeks to make higher education more accessible to a diverse worldwide audience.
“Providing access to affordable education everywhere the Church is organized is critical to what we do,” said CES Commissioner Elder Clark G. Gilbert. “This optimized degree structure will make completing a degree a possibility for many more people, particularly those who have not felt higher education was a viable option for them.”
Serving nearly 70,000 students in more than 180 countries annually, BYU–Pathway Worldwide provides resources and support to students as they complete online degrees and certificates delivered by BYU–Idaho and Ensign College. The average online student is 33 years old, takes two classes at a time, works full time and supports a family.
The three-year degrees are available to students enrolled in online programs only, offered by BYU–Idaho and Ensign through their partnership with BYU–Pathway Worldwide. Degrees will be offered in the fields of business, technology, communication, health, family services and professional studies. BYU–Idaho and Ensign College will report regularly to NWCCU on the outcomes and progress of students enrolled in the new degrees.
“BYU–Idaho and Ensign College online students serviced through BYU–Pathway Worldwide typically are first-generation college students who work full-time and often struggle to make ends meet,” said Brian K. Ashton, BYU–Pathway Worldwide president. “They need options that help them earn a degree as efficiently as possible. The new degree structure increases the likelihood of graduation while preserving all learning outcomes to prepare them for jobs and careers.”
Although BYU–Idaho and Ensign College are among the first institutions to receive accreditation for this degree structure, other innovators in higher education have for years explored degree options that are based more on learning outcomes than the actual time in the classroom. Recently, BYU–Idaho has participated in the “College-in-3” consortium of schools that includes the University of Minnesota Rochester and the University of Pennsylvania to explore a variety of ways to rethink traditional approaches to higher education.
To learn more about the optimized degree offerings, please visit byupathway.org/degree-in-three.
The Church Educational System (CES) is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mission of CES is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church and their communities.