Earn Combined Bachelor's and Master's Credit | Smart Track
As an online student, you’re probably an expert in multitasking—pursuing your degree while working full-time, caring for a family, or otherwise balancing numerous responsibilities. As an online institution, we’re in the business of helping you balance those roles with a straightforward path to educational and career goals. Enter Smart Track—an opportunity for students in bachelor’s programs to earn credit that can be applied toward master’s programs.
“Smart Track is a way for bachelor’s-level students to earn 6-9 credits toward their master’s degree, depending on the program,” says Katie Scheie, VP of the Registrar at Ashford University. “We established Smart Track to help students save time and money on their education.”
How Can You Earn Combined Master’s and Bachelor’s Credit?
If you are enrolled in an Ashford University bachelor’s degree program, you may be eligible to enroll in up to six (6) credits of graduate-level coursework (or nine applicable credits for the Master of Accountancy, MBA, MPA, or Master of Science in Criminal Justice programs) that can be applied toward your bachelor’s degree and apply those credits toward your master’s program at Ashford University. That means you could accelerate completion of your master’s degree by up to 18 weeks.
How Can You Qualify for Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Credit?
To qualify for the Smart Track program, you must:
- Have a 2.75 or higher cumulative GPA to begin a master’s-level course
- Be a senior-level student with 108+ credits earned toward a bachelor’s degree at Ashford University
- Meet any prerequisite coursework requirements for each course
- Indicate to your Student Advisor that you plan to apply for admission to a specific master’s degree program at Ashford University upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, and request the courses through your Student Advisor
- Be in good financial standing at Ashford University
- Complete a Smart Track Request form
What Are the Benefits of Earning Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Credit?
“It makes a lot of sense for students to take advantage of the program, and we’re happy to provide the opportunity for them,” notes Katie. There are many reasons to pursue a master’s degree, and Smart Track makes it a more effective process in several ways.
A Master’s Degree Sets You Apart
Master’s degrees are a great way to stand apart from others in your field, and may increasingly become required in your industry. Occupations that typically require a master’s degree for entry are projected to grow 18.4 percent from 2012 to 2022.
You Save Time and Money
A benefit so nice, we’ll say it twice. As you fulfill bachelor’s credits, you’re satisfying master’s-level credits that you won’t have to take later. Because you won’t have to take those credits in your master’s program, you’re saving on tuition costs. And further, “Because you’re taking master’s courses at the bachelor’s level, you’re only paying undergraduate credit costs instead of graduate credit costs,” explains Katie.
You May Be More Likely to Complete Your Degree, and Faster
Master’s students who enrolled in Smart Track during their bachelor’s program had higher retention rates across the 2010-2013 academic years. They were also more likely to complete their master’s programs in 2-3 years in the 2010-12 academic years, compared to students who hadn’t enrolled in Smart Track. “We’re seeing higher retention and faster completion in students who used Smart Track,” Katie says, “which tells us the program is effective for students.”
If you’re looking for a way to gain a competitive edge in your field with a master’s degree, Smart Track can help you earn combined bachelor’s and master’s credits. To start taking advantage of this program, speak with your Student Advisor today.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education