Accelerated Online Degrees: Guide to Finding the Right Program


Accelerated online degrees challenge students to quickly progress through coursework while retaining information.

The challenging nature of accelerated programs means that students need effective instructors and well-structured courses for the best chance of success.

For this reason, we aim to identify the best accelerated online degree programs in our rankings. The programs identified in these rankings provide a fast-paced education without sacrificing academic rigor.

As such, students who enroll in these programs will benefit from the fastest professional and academic development in higher education.

For self-motivated students who want the fastest path to career advancement, accelerated online degrees may be the perfect option.

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits of an accelerated program needs to be weighed against the challenges of fast-paced learning.

  • While self-motivated students who are fast learners may thrive, others may struggle.

  • Explore rankings of the best accelerated online degrees to find the right program for you.

  How Do Accelerated Programs Work?

Accelerated degree programs offer students the fastest timeline of enrollment to graduation by streamlining curriculum and coursework while encouraging students’ efficiency.

But how do these programs pull this off exactly?

Accelerated degree programs provide this fast-paced timeline by combing efficient curriculums, aggressively paced coursework, and generous credit policies. Accelerated online degrees also leverage distance education and flexible scheduling to encourage efficiency.

  • Efficient Curriculums: Accelerated programs focus their curriculums on only the most important subjects. In other words, students in an accelerated degree programs should expect to study only high priority subjects that are most relevant to the real world demands of the job market.

  • Aggressively Paced Coursework: Accelerated programs require students to progress through coursework at a faster pace than is required in traditional programs. Because of this, students must have strong time management skills to keep pace.

  • Generous Credit Policies: Accelerated programs often accept transfer credits more generously than other programs. Some even offer credits for life experience and professional accomplishments. This means that accelerated programs are an excellent option for prospective students who might have high levels of experience outside of academics.

Key Point: Accelerated programs are ideal for students who only wish to study subjects most relevant to their career paths. On the other hand, students who wish to explore more diverse topics and coursework more completely may dislike accelerated curriculum.

The Benefits of an Accelerated Online Degree

Accelerated online degree programs aim to push efficiency even further.

By allowing students to progress through coursework anytime and anywhere, these programs can achieve a level of efficiency that on-campus programs simply cannot compete with.

On the other hand, online programs require a level of self-motivation and self-direction that some students may struggle with. But if you can overcome these challenges, you will experience the following benefits of accelerated online degrees:

  • Flexibility: First and foremost accelerated online degrees allow students to progress through coursework anytime and anywhere, a level of flexibility that was impossible before recent advances in online learning technology.

  • Efficiency: Students in an accelerated program may appreciate the fact that their time is not being wasted on studies or projects of little value to their careers. This is a great selling point for students who dislike busy work.

  • Challenge: While some students may find accelerated courses challenging, others may be invigorated by the challenge.

  • Skill-Building: Online programs require students to build skills of time management, self-motivation, and accountability. All of which represent invaluable skills for professionals throughout their careers.

Key Point: While on-campus accelerated programs may offer a similar time-to-graduate timeline, online programs offer an unmatched level of flexibility and efficiency.

Back to Top

  Fastest Accelerated Online Associate Degree Programs

The fastest accelerated online associate degree programs offer an unparalleled pace of learning. Because associate program curriculum covers more basic subjects and coursework, students are encouraged to progress as quickly as possible.

Because of this, some accelerated programs even offer a 12 month associate completion track!

Who Benefits Most from an Accelerated Online Associate’s Program?

  • Students who want to quickly complete an associate degree to leverage for either career advancement or enrollment in a bachelor’s degree.
  • And students who wish to earn credits for previous work experience.

Who Benefits Least from an Accelerated Online Associate’s Program?

  • Students who need the most preparation for future undergraduate education.
  • Students who need to balance other responsibilities while earning their degree.

Accelerated Degree Programs Ranked

Back to Top

  Fastest Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

The fastest accelerated online bachelor degree programs introduce students to the foundational concepts and theories of their chosen area of study.

The time-to-graduate of each program will depend on the particular program and area of study. Because some subjects require more study than others, some degrees can be completed quicker than others.

But you won’t find many accredited bachelor’s degree programs that can be completed in 12 months, such as you can with an associate degree. However, you will find many great options for programs with a 24 months (or less) completion time.

Who Benefits Most from an Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Program?

  • Students who wish to enter their job market as quickly as possible. And active professionals who want to make a career change without sacrificing four years for a college education.
  • Students who dislike busy work and the tangential studies often associated with undergraduate degrees.

Who Benefits Least from an Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Program?

  • Undergraduate students who wish to pursue a particular concentration or specialized area of study.

Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degrees Ranked

Back to Top

  Fastest Accelerated Online Master’s Degree Programs

The fastest accelerated online master’s degree programs offer students a unique opportunity – to earn an advanced degree quickly. Sometimes these programs can be completed in as little as one year!

Because graduate programs typically take 2 years, this can save students a year or more of their time. And for budding professionals, time is a valuable thing.

And unlike accelerated undergraduate degrees, the fastest graduate programs allow students to pursue specialized degrees and concentrations. This is due to the fact that graduate programs already benefit from a narrow curriculum focus – and as result do not have much to gain from trimming tangential studies.

Who Benefits Most from an Accelerated Online Master’s Program?

  • Active professional or recent graduates who want to achieve quick career advancement in a field with demanding credentials and prerequisite education.

Who Benefits Least from an Accelerated Online Master’s Program?

  • Students who would need to balance graduate education with employment.

Accelerated Online Master’s Degrees Ranked

See our complete guide to MBAs for more information.

Back to Top

  Fastest Accelerated Online Doctoral Degree Programs

The fastest accelerated online doctoral programs allow students to earn a pinnacle degree much faster than they otherwise could.

This is because accelerated doctorate students will complete only the most necessary coursework and projects; which will be an alluring notion for students who have been unnerved by stories of doctoral programs taking years beyond what was planned for.

Who Benefits Most from an Accelerated Online Doctorate Degree?

  • Graduate students or professionals who wish to pursue the upper echelon of their chosen career.

  • Professionals who need to earn advanced credentials in a short amount of time.

Who Benefits Least from an Accelerated Online Doctorate Degree?

  • Students who wish to have more time to polish and improve their doctoral projects.