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Why you should consider a two-year degree

Wednesday 30 January 2019, First year

by Samantha Carmichael

Why you should consider a two-year degree

Relevant to
Samantha Carmichael

Since the House of Commons’ ruling on accelerated degrees, it is becoming likely that all universities could soon offer two-year degrees.

Yes – a fully accredited degree in just two years.

Where I study, at the University of Buckingham, they have been offering this alternative for over 40 years. Since the Commons’ announcement, people have been giving two-year degrees a bad rap, with one educationalist calling them ‘gimmicky’. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a student who’s halfway through a two-year degree, I thought I had to shed some light on the concept of accelerated degrees, because there are many misconceptions out there.

Now these are the top five phrases I hear a lot, and they’re completely false. So, from the top…

  1. ‘You get no holiday’. Of course you get less holiday than those taking three-year degrees, but I still get a hefty 13 weeks per year, which equates to over three times what people in the working world get. If you could cope with the amount of holiday you got at school, which is around 12 weeks, then you’ll find a two-year degree is no different. Plus, who needs three months in the summer anyway? With shorter breaks the information learnt is kept fresh in your mind, meaning there’s slightly less pressure during exam season.
  2. ‘You’ll have no social life’. Although sacrifices have to be made, it doesn’t mean you’re a hermit stuck in the library each weekend. In fact, my social life is just like a normal student. My uni’s students’ union puts on parties twice a week, and you’re never far away from a social event, so there’s plenty of opportunities to mingle.
  3. ‘It will affect work opportunities’. A great misconception is that two-year degrees do not allow time for work experience, but with the frequent holidays and generous timetables, you’re able to both study and enrich your understanding of the subject in a practical way. Plus, most students have part-time jobs too. With the recommended work limit being about 12 hours per week, this leaves you with a fair bit of pocket money.
  4. ‘Two-year degrees are more expensive than three-year degrees’. Let’s do the maths. Universities that offer three-year degrees charge, on average, £9,000 per year. The new proposals mean that universities can charge £11,000 per year for a two-year degree. If you choose to study a three-year degree, you’re paying around £27,000 for tuition, however, those studying two-year degrees pay considerably less – they pay £22,000. Plus, if you substitute an extra year’s living costs, you’re saving over £10,000.
  5. ‘You’re bombarded with work’. We have four terms instead of three, which means we have the same amount of workload per week, but just have an extra teaching term. We aren’t bombarded with hundreds of modules and assignments, we simply have an extra nine weeks to do extra work, meaning we’re out of education and can start earning quicker. Simples.

From my experience so far, choosing a two-year degree has been one of the smartest decisions I have made. It has brought out my confidence, challenged me to achieve the best of my ability, and really developed my critical thinking – and I’m only halfway through. I’ve also saved a big chunk of money.

Two-year degrees aren’t a gimmick. In fact, they are a resourceful way to save money while getting out to work quicker. You could obtain an undergraduate degree and a master’s all within three years, should you choose to boycott an unnecessarily extended summer holiday.

So as far, as alternative options go, choosing to do your degree in two years is definitely one of the best options, if not the best option.