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Muhlenberg College Clarifies its Three Year Degree Option

ALLENTOWN, PA  – While early graduation is uncommon, Muhlenberg College students have always had the opportunity to graduate in three years as opposed to the traditional four-year route.  Due to the difficult economic times, three-year degree programs have recently  received national attention.  To that end, Muhlenberg College has provided a clear path to the three-year degree option, while cautioning that it is for a very small percentage of its population.

Provost John Ramsay points out that this option is “not aimed at all, or even most, students.”

“Students have always had the option to graduate in three years,” notes Ramsay.  “We expect a very small percentage of our students will consider this path, but given the economic times, we wanted to make students aware of this program should they wish to accelerate their undergraduate education.”

Students who choose the three-year option are still required to meet the 34-course graduation requirement.  This can be accomplished in three academic years plus summer study, along with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credits and/or college credits earned before enrolling at Muhlenberg College.

“This is certainly not for everyone,” says Muhlenberg College President Randy Helm.  “We still believe there are excellent reasons to follow the traditional four-year route to an undergraduate degree.  However, this might be an attractive option for especially ambitious and focused students who arrive on campus knowing exactly what they want to study.  It has the potential to save more than $50,000 in college costs for students who are ready to move on to the next stage of their lives, and to get them into graduate school, professional school or the workforce a year earlier than would otherwise be possible.”

Helm also cautions that the compressed schedule may preclude students from completing a double major, adding a minor or studying abroad, which are valuable components of a liberal arts education.  He also notes that nine to 15 courses are required for an academic major and “scheduling and advising play critical roles in the process.”

According the most recent Muhlenberg College Career Survey, 97 percent of those who responded from the Class of 2011 (92 percent response rate) were employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The Muhlenberg experience is characterized by a deep sense of community and connection, intense student-faculty relationships and collaboration; small classes; passionate teaching and active learning; and powerful outcomes in terms of graduate school and entry-level career placement.