Introduction to the School of Accelerated Degree Programs: Undergraduate Students

The School of Accelerated Degree Programs is an accelerated program in which most students combine extensive self-directed study with a once-per-week class meeting earning nine to ten semester hours of university credit in twelve weeks. Six credit hour clusters are also offered in some subjects, which also meet once-per-week in twelve weeks. Single courses are offered in classroom and online formats so students enrolled in a six-credit hour cluster can take an additional course to meet degree requirements and maintain full time status for financial aid purposes. Because of the accelerated format, students can expect a minimum of twenty hours of out-of-class work per week. The program serves to merge academic goals with practical knowledge applicable to the student’s workplace.

The goal of the adult-centered program is to establish the habit of lifelong learning beyond degree completion. Upon entry, each student is assigned an academic advisor to guide the student to graduation. The student-advisor link remains critical throughout a student’s academic career. Therefore, students are required to contact their faculty advisors on a quarterly basis.

The Cluster

Central to the theory and practice of adult education is the ideal of the synthesis of knowledge. The School of Accelerated Degree Programs seeks to achieve this goal through the construct of the cluster following a quarter schedule. Clusters are comprised of a faculty member and approximately 12 to 17 students who meet for four hours weekly during an evening or weekend for 12 weeks. Nine-credit-hour clusters schedule a 13th class meeting within the quarter. Each student is enrolled in a group of two or three related subject area courses, called a cluster, that are, in many cases, integrated into one seminar. Three semester hours of credit are awarded for successful completion of each course in the cluster for a total of six to ten semester hours per cluster. The cluster provides students with an opportunity to explore basic subject areas beyond the confines of a single discipline.

These cluster group meetings provide a collegial environment in which students present their work and share their learning. A major objective of this format is the development of knowledge synthesis, so students can expect their learning to be measured in a variety of ways: written and oral presentation, class discussion, research papers, group projects, and traditional testing. However, as is true of most higher education programs, each professor determines how students are to be assessed and graded; therefore, tests and quizzes may be used to supplement papers and presentations as assessments of student mastery.

The cluster begins with a first assignment, given to the student when he or she enrolls in the cluster. This assignment is due during the first class meeting. Subsequent homework assignments are delineated in the syllabus, and, due to the accelerated nature of the program, it is expected that a student will spend, at a minimum, twenty hours per week working on these out-of-class homework assignments. This time commitment may vary, however, depending upon the student’s level of expertise in a given cluster. A student in a management cluster, for example, who has worked several years in a middle management position, and who has completed a variety of corporate sponsored management courses, may, in fact, spend less time working on assignments for this cluster.

Due to the accelerated nature of the cluster (program), the rewriting of papers or the assigning of extra credit homework to improve a grade, or grades, is not permitted.

Student Enrollment Process

Once students enroll in the School of Accelerated Degree Programs through the admissions office, an academic advisor is assigned. Students are required to meet in person with their advisor for enrollment in their second cluster in the program, as well as for enrollment in their final cluster in the program, which serves as their exit interview. During the remainder of their time in the program, students have the option to either (1) meet in person with their advisor for enrollment, or (2) contact their advisor by email or by telephone for enrollment. This contact must occur each quarter during the student’s appropriate registration week according to academic rank. During this advisor contact time, the advisor discusses degree and enrollment options and opens the student’s portal for online registration. The advisor may register the student or students may register themselves for classes through their student portal. Once the initial enrollment is completed, the academic advisor closes the student portal. If a student decides after the initial enrollment to make a schedule change or withdraw from classes, the student must contact the advisor again, who will open the student’s portal for the enrollment change. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule this contact time with the advisor and to complete the enrollment process each quarter.

Earning a Bachelor's Degree

Requisite Study in the Major

Requirements vary, but at least 54 semester hours in the major area are necessary for most degree programs, at least 50 percent of which (three clusters) must be taken at Lindenwood University. Some majors require prescribed areas of study to be covered. In other majors, requirements are more flexible and the program of study is developed by the student in consultation with the faculty advisor.

Special Topics Courses/Numbers

 In cases in which the student needs one or two more credit hours to graduate, the academic advisor may approve a student to enroll in a one or two credit hour special topics independent study along with a course or cluster. A special topics syllabus will outline the course requirements that will include advanced level coursework. Special topics courses/numbers are listed in the catalog for each academic discipline.

Graduation Requirements

In addition to completing the work necessary to qualify for a baccalaureate degree, the student must meet the School of Accelerated Degree Programs, graduation requirements within the scope of the specific degree program designed with the help of the faculty advisor. The following are the overall requirements for graduation with a baccalaureate degree:

  1. Successful completion of at least 120 semester hours.
  2. Successful completion of the general education requirements.
  3. Completion and approval of the capstone course.
  4. Successful completion of a total of 30 credit hours in residence at Lindenwood University, with the successful completion of the last 24 credits leading to a degree being taken within the Lindenwood University system.
  5. Forty-two (42) semester hours of upper division courses, numbered 30000 or above.
  6. The greater of 18 credit hours or 40 percent of the courses required for the major, minor, or certificate must be taken within the Lindenwood University system.**
  7. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all courses taken within the Lindenwood University system, as well as in the student’s major.

This policy was updated after publishing per the addendum.**

Preparing for Graduation

Students are responsible for tracking their own academic progress and eligibility for graduation. Specifically, in order to track the progress through a degree, each student must maintain a checklist of all requirements, including major and minor requirements, general education requirements, free electives, number of courses completed at or above the 30000-level, and total number of credit hours completed. The academic advisor will confirm that all degree requirements have been met; however, ultimate responsibility for tracking the student’s progress through a program and assuring that all degree requirements for graduation are met lies with the student. Only the provost and the registrar have the authority to certify that all requirements for graduation have been fulfilled and post a notification of degree completion on a student’s transcript.

In addition to tracking their own progress through academic programs, students must submit an Application for Degree. This form is available in the student portal to submit online to the advisor. The application must be signed by the student and the student’s academic advisor and be submitted to the Office of Academic Services. Failure to submit an application by the appropriate deadline may postpone the posting of the student’s degree.

The application deadlines are as follows:  

 Graduation  Application Deadline
 March  December 30 of previous year
 May  December 30 of previous year
 June  December 30 of previous year
 August  February 28 of the same year
 September  March 30 of the same year
 October  May 30 of the same year
 December  May 30 of the same year