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Abertay University unveils three-year fast-track to Scottish honours degree

24 June 2014

New students enrolling at Abertay University later this year will be able to complete the equivalent of a full four-year honours degree within three years.

Abertay has designed a new structure allowing students to fit four years’ worth of study into three years. This means that students enrolling this September will be able, if they wish, to finish their degrees in August 2017 instead of July 2018 on the conventional timetable.

The University is offering the option on seven of its degree programmes at first. Depending on student interest, the option will be added to other degrees across the Abertay portfolio.

Abertay is the first university in Scotland to offer this option across such a broad range of degrees. The traditional four-year undergraduate degree has often been regarded as something of a non-negotiable 'gold standard', but Abertay believes that its new model preserves the gold standard while offering students greater flexibility and choice.

Market research commissioned by Abertay indicates that there is healthy demand for the fast-track option. Focus groups of sixth-formers and parents agreed that getting to the jobs market sooner with lower student debt due to reduced living costs makes the accelerated degree an attractive alternative.

The degrees in the pilot programme are Business Studies, Computer Arts, Computer Games Application Development, Ethical Hacking, Food and Consumer Sciences, Game Design and Production Management, and Sports Development.

The fast-track option works by telescoping the last two years of a standard four-year programme into 15 months.

All students will study at the same pace during their first two years, but will be offered the fast-track option at the beginning of their second year. If they choose to do so, then at the end of the second year they will move onto the accelerated programme.

Instead of studying four years of two 15-week terms each, the accelerated programme comprises one year of two terms followed by two years of three terms each, meaning that students will study for 30 weeks in the first year and 45 weeks in each of the other years.

Although the fast-track programme will finish 11 months before the conventional programme, students on the fast track will study exactly the same curriculum, taught in the same way and subject to the same high quality standards, as those on the conventional timetable.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, said:

"The accelerated degree has exactly the same learning outcomes, quality standards and academic standing as the traditional four-year programmes. By delivering it at a faster pace, we can offer our students more choice, creating alternative degree pathways which we believe will suit the needs of some of our students.

"Abertay's focus on preparing students for the world of work, and for a life of learning, combined with its high levels of engagement with employers make its courses well suited to accelerated delivery. Courses are designed with careers in mind, and employers are involved in designing and reviewing course structure and content.

"In that sense, our new accelerated degree programmes are an exciting and radical, but also essentially logical and natural, step in our continuing academic development as a modern university determined to make its own unique contribution to society."

Laurence Howells, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

"In a few weeks' time higher and advanced higher results will be out and the class of 2014 will be finalising their choice of university. The new courses at Abertay University give students more choices about the way they study for a degree. And the range of subjects they can choose - from sports development to ethical hacking - is very exciting. So I wish the university and the students who enrol on these new courses every success."


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