Colorado Christian University is rolling out a new program in the 2014-15 school year – one that allows undergraduates to earn graduate credit. The School of Business and Leadership, which serves traditional undergraduate students, will begin offering master’s level courses. Students will be able to take up to 18 graduate credit hours – courses at the 500 level – that can articulate directly into CCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies.
“This program was really driven by a need to serve our accounting majors,” said Dr. Gary Ewen, dean of the School of Business and Leadership. “Since accountants will now need 150 hours to sit for the CPA exam, we wanted to help them toward their goal – beyond the 120 credit hours of the standard bachelor’s degree.”
“By taking a full course load of 18 credits every semester, an accounting student can earn up to almost half of his or her graduate requirements toward an MBA.”
Beyond the accounting degree, Ewen realized this option would help students who were business administration or computer information systems majors – the other two program offerings in the School of Business and Leadership.
Many current classes are being tweaked to offer the challenge of a 500 level course. Other courses are being added. For example, a new international business practicum, BUS 500, will plan the annual international business trip – getting the hands-on experience of securing visas, scheduling an itinerary, and working through the potential pitfalls of such a trip.
Additionally, each course is being carefully examined to see how it is best delivered – whether that’s with regular class periods over the 17 week semester, or prolonged classes over a shorter timeframe.
“Most of the 500 level courses are electives,” noted Ewen, “dependent on the majors and minors you choose. But most students will still leave here with some graduate credit, which will help them on job applications and toward a future degree – even if it takes them a few years to decide on that route.”
The program comes at a time when employers increasingly demand graduate degrees, and it’s part of a broader strategy to better serve CCU students. Elsewhere, for example, CCU has initiated the Employment Management Services program, which has relationships with over 150 local businesses, and places students in paying jobs where they can earn college credit, build a resume, and offset expenses.
“It’s an exciting time to be at the University,” Ewen added. “And students feel that. They are excited about this new program – it’s quite an accomplishment to say you’ve passed a graduate level course.”