New accelerated grad programs in place this fall

Valentina Vargas, Staff Reporter

New accelerated graduate programs were implemented the Fall 2018 semester starting off in the English department.

Randall Beebe, coordinator of graduate studies in the English department, said the accelerated English graduate program was designed and introduced for this academic year of 2017-2018.

“The idea is not a new concept. It’s new to EIU, but the idea is to offer a program for undergraduates who are interested in earning master-level degree credits while they are undergraduates,” Beebe said.

Undergraduates who are honors students in the English department are required to take at least one graduate seminar, which Beebe said normally is taken during their senior year.

“Those credits that they take when it’s 5000-level course only apply to their undergraduate degree, they would never apply to their graduate degree,” Beebe said. “This program though is what makes it possible for any graduate level course (undergrad students) take satisfy to different things (certifications).”

Graduate School Dean Ryan Hendrickson said accelerated graduate program tend to be for juniors and seniors who are interested in starting a graduate program early.

Hendrickson said students now could experience graduate education as an undergraduate and have at least a semester counted toward their graduate study.

“So, it saves them time towards finishing their master’s degree and also saves them a semester’s worth of tuition, which can be very big savings,” Hendrickson said. “It depends upon the program, but you know, probably around $4,000 per semester, which is tuition and fees.”

All the accelerated programs became functional this fall semester, and the enrollment numbers for students taking the program will be shown in the spring semester.

Hendrickson said they were fortunate the English department was able to get an early start.

“They started marketing before some other programs, so they managed to get a couple students in, but I didn’t anticipate much enrollment in fall,” Hendrickson said.

Beebe said in the English accelerated program this fall semester, there are two students signed up for graduate courses, and there are four to six students signed up for the spring semester.

“One of the students is doing his graduate seminar right now this fall and taking two more (courses) now next spring,” Beebe said. “So, he will already have nine credits of graduate work while he is an undergraduate.”

The accelerated graduate programs are for Eastern students but could be for a student that transfers their credits from their community college.

Hendrickson said the accelerated graduate programs will bring more incentive to Eastern’s enrollment, since not every university offers this program.

“If you start here, we have built in programs in tracks that will make it that much quicker (for a student) to start their graduate program,” Hendrickson said. “And it makes Eastern more attractive for first-year students, for transfer students and it just improves the eligibility of our graduate programs.”

Valentina Vargas can be reached at  or [email protected]