For Southern Connecticut State University students like Therese Ziaks, ’22, who knew early on that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine, the Accelerated Pathway, or 4+1, program in chemistry was an opportune way to shave thousands of dollars off her college expenses — and add thousands to her earning potential.
Southern currently offers more than 20 4+1s, which are pathways that enable students to replace 6 to 12 credits of undergraduate electives with graduate-level courses in their major during their senior year. The program saves students a full year’s tuition and expenses by enabling them to graduate in five years, instead of six or more, with a graduate degree.
The 4+1s are the only programs within these subjects available in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system.
“I learned of the 4+1 option early on [from my professors in the chemistry department] as an undergraduate student at Southern,” Ziaks said.
Ziaks received her undergraduate degree from Southern in 2021 in chemistry. She minored in biology, Honors Transdisciplinary, and psychology. She is also a graduate of the Honors College and a recipient of Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award, 2021.
“I think the 4+1 programs are such a unique component of the curriculum and educational opportunities at Southern,” she said. “It provided me an additional year of research and the ability to participate in new extracurricular activities and volunteer work.”
“The 4+1 programs really offer everything,” said Jonathan Wharton, associate dean, SCSU Graduate School, and associate professor, political science and urban affairs. “We see some instances where students are even adding an internship to their accelerated program, which means in five years’ time, they’re completely equipped for a competitive job market.”
In addition, he added, “The programs help departments with recruiting potential undergraduate and graduate students who have already honed in on their area of interest.”
As one of those students, Ziaks is looking forward to entering her career a year earlier than some of her colleagues. And, looking back, she is aware of all the support the program afforded her.
“A benefit of the program is of course the cost,” she said. “[But] the program also provides flexibility for students to work while completing their 4+1 year — whether that be on campus, in industry, etcetera. Finally, there are scholarships available through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, which I think is a significant benefit.”
Beyond the 20-plus available programs, Southern continues to evaluate the creation of new pathways; factors that play a role are faculty and space availability, job market and industry growth, and market interest.
For interested students, the ideal time to apply for acceptance into an accelerated program is during their spring semester of junior year of high school.
The following pathway programs are available:
· Business Administration, B.S. – Marketing M.B.A. Accelerated Pathway