That’s a question Mitch Daniels confronted as a student at Princeton University. Then, he opted for three and a half, graduating a semester early. As
president of Purdue, he raised the question again when he
challenged the University community to develop a three-
year undergraduate degree.
“The notion that it requires four years to complete an
undergraduate degree is really little more than a matter of
tradition, a uniquely American tradition,” says Daniels.
He goes on to note, “It’s more clear than ever that a solid
grounding in disciplines like English, history, political
science, philosophy, or communication is invaluable in
today’s collaborative, information-based economy.”
This fall, the College of Liberal Arts rolled out Degree
in 3, a comprehensive program offering more than 20
three-year degree options in every academic unit within
the College. Degree in 3 builds on a road map that the Brian
Lamb School of Communication created in response to
Daniels’ challenge in 2014 and marks a transition to a three-
year degree college.
“As we look at undergraduate liberal arts education,
this is a compelling option,” says David Reingold, Justin S.
Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts. “It positions students to meld
the benefits of the in-demand skills a liberal arts degree
provides—great communication, creative thinking, and
analytical problem solving—with an exceptional value
proposition. We hear the concerns about the cost of higher
education. Degree in 3 offers savings over a four-year
degree. Add to that the income these students will enjoy by
virtue of entering the workforce a year earlier. That extra
year of earning power will put them ahead of their peers on
the road to success.
“It is incumbent upon leaders in higher education to
find innovative solutions to remain viable and to remain
relevant,” Reingold continues. “Degree in 3 represents
innovation at its best. It is a simple alternative to address
the issue of cost. We anticipate that students will see this,