Three Year Baccalaureate Degrees

What is a Three-Year Baccalaureate Degree?

A Three-Year Baccalaureate Degree allows students to complete a regular four-year Baccalaureate Degree within three years after initial enrollment at the University of Cincinnati. Students must complete all the requirements of a baccalaureate degree.  However, they do so in a compressed timeframe and/or by getting a jump start on the degree by completing requirements prior to UC enrollment. For some degree programs, credit by exam or advanced standing through portfolio assessment may be options.

Three-Year Baccalaureate Degrees | 2013-14 Academic Year

Click the College to view its majors with three-year pathways.



After Enrolling at UC

Some Three-Year Degree programs can be completed with no advanced standing credit prior to initial enrollment.  Enrollment in summer school and/or taking an academic overload are ways of completing certain degrees in three years.  See the curriculum guides above to determine which programs offer this option.

Beginning with New Student Orientation, Talk to your Advisor about your Plans.

Academic advisors assist students in understanding exactly where they stand and what the options are going forward. Advisors can also help students decide whether or not to accept the advanced standing award for a particular course of study. UC data suggest that on occasion, waiving credit earned by an AP score of 3 in a pivotal gateway course might well be a wise step in assuring academic success. Advisors can also help students review how internships, study abroad, minors, second majors, etc. may enhance overall success even if they do not result in degree completion within three years. There are many factors to consider.  Advisors can discuss various options for degree acceleration.  For questions that students may have prior to attending Bearcats Bound New Student Orientation, contact the Office of Admissions.

Summer School

For most programs, the typical academic year includes the Fall and Spring Semesters. Students in non-co-op programs, following a degree plan and who complete 15 semester credit hours a term should normally expect to graduate in four years. Summer school enrollment can accelerate time to degree as long as students make appropriate course selections. Not all courses are taught in summer school. Students should consult the Course Planning Guide, check the actual course offerings on OneStop and consult with their advisor about summer enrollment. Most summer courses may be taken at UC or on another accredited campus – either way students should verify with an advisor that the selected classes will apply to their degree plan.

Academic Overload

Most students carry approximately 15 semester credit hours per term to maintain degree progress.  Students can carry up to 18 semester credit hours without incurring additional costs. Students who are making effective progress may be approved by their advisor to enroll in more than 18 semester credit hours. Hours over 18 do carry an additional tuition by the credit hour charge. Enrolling in more than 18 semester credit hours represents a significant increase in time and effort to successfully complete all class requirements. Before embarking on such a plan students should discuss with their advisors and make sure to plan their time very carefully to manage all academic and non-academic obligations.

Before Enrolling at UC – Earn Credit!

Many students enroll at UC with significant numbers of credit hours known as advanced standing. The accumulation of such hours is not a guarantee that students can complete a baccalaureate degree within three years, as these hours must apply specifically to the requirements of the selected degree program. However, planful selection of such opportunities can enhance the likelihood of three-year completion. Below are details about how to attain advanced standing prior to enrollment.

Advanced Placement Course Completion and Testing

Many High Schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) Courses. AP courses are sanctioned by the College Board through a process that assures equivalency with college level courses. At Ohio public campuses, students earning a score of 3 or better on an AP exam are guaranteed the award of college level credit. AP courses typically fulfill general education or introductory courses in a discipline.  See test scores and resulting awards at the link below:

Advanced Placement Key (for AP course equivalencies at UC)

Other nationally recognized tests also result in the award of advanced standing credit. For all such tests, score notification must be received from the testing agency.  See specifics about advanced standing options. They include but are not limited to:

International Baccalaureate Curriculum

Cambridge International A-Level Exams

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Dual Credit Course Completion

Dual Credit Courses are classes taken while a student’s primary enrollment is high school but they count for both high school and college credit. Such courses may be taken on a college campus or at the student’s high school as long as they are sanctioned by an accredited higher education institution. Such programs assume many names such as Early College High School, Post Secondary Education Options, Dual Credit, etc. To receive credit students must have an official transcript sent from the post secondary institution sponsoring the class.

After students are admitted and confirmed at UC and forward their advanced standing credentials, they will be able to see exactly how the earned credits apply to the degree via a Degree Audit.  It is important to work with your UC academic advisor after admission to ensure careful course planning and stay on track.