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What do students think of fast-track degrees?

Research has revealed that there may be a divide in student opinion based on socio-economic circumstance 

  • Student life
Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

Seeta Bhardwa

Editor, THE Student
September 8 2017


Research from The Student Room shows a divide between poorer and more affluent students in opinions about about fast-track degrees.

A survey of 12,127 students from the UK found that 44 per cent of those who received free school meals are more interested in the two-year degree. 

On student in favour of the shorter degree, said: “I would totally take the option of getting a degree in two years! It would be the same qualification, just in a shorter amount of time. Yes, that would imply a busier schedule, but I would much rather work very hard for two years and get a head start in my career than work hard for three years and postpone my career plans.” 

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Some 42 per cent of the respondents whose parents didn’t go to university were also interested in the shorter degree. Those with one parent who had been to university were slightly more interested (39 per cent) than those who had two parents who went to university (33 per cent). 

However, both poorer and affluent students expressed similar concerns about fast-track degrees. These included not wanting to miss out on the “complete” university experience and being concerned that course standards would drop (23 per cent) and needing the summer break to earn money or gain practical experience with a work placement or internship (23 per cent). 

One respondent against the fast-track degree said: “I’d be worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of work and my grades would suffer.”

Another said: “It crams too much information into students in a limited time frame, which puts on too much additional pressure for no extra benefit."

Hannah Morrish, student choice and higher education lead at The Student Room commented: “The two year option could be immensely attractive to a large number of students. However, there is a lot of work to be done around making finance available and convincing all students that they will not sacrifice opportunities gained through a full-length degree. Work experience, placements, and activities such as volunteering alongside studies are key aspects of the whole university experience, and help to ensure that students are workplace ready. If universities and the government plan to take the two-year degree option forward, they must listen to the concerns raised by future applicants and ensure these are addressed.” 

Read more: Seven unusual degrees you might not have thought of


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