2 Year Bachelor Degree Programs

2 Year Bachelor Degree Programs

2 Year Bachelor Degree Programs - A Step-by-Step Guide. Here are 7 proven ways to shave up to 2 years off your degree. Get your bachelor's degree in 2 years

Are you searching for a 2 year bachelor degree? Or wondering how to get a bachelor’s degree in 2 years? You don’t have time for a long, leisurely stroll through college. You need to get a bachelor’s degree and you need it fast. We can help!

Graduate Faster with Accelerated Classes

If you want to finish your degree in less time, the first step is to select a college offering accelerated online classes. Time to completion will vary depending on how many college credits you already have and how many classes you can successfully manage at one time. None of these schools guarantee a faster completion rate, that’s up to you!

Purdue University now offers 6 week online classes, making them a great choice to help you get your bachelor’s degree at a faster pace. They offer dozens of online bachelor’s degrees ranging from business to psychology and pretty much everywhere in between. Plus, they are a well-known, respected university with a rich history.

Other notable (and reputable) schools offer 8 week online classes: Colorado State University and Liberty University

Or, if you want a self-paced program so you can determine exactly how fast you get your bachelor’s degree, check out Western Governor’s University.

2 year bachelor degree programs

We are right there with you – 2 years is all the time you have to commit to a bachelor degree.

But the problem is, most universities require you to complete 4 years: freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. That’s how it works — or used to work, anyway.

If you go the traditional route, 4 years in university will take:

Who has time for that??

Not you.

I’m going to show you how to create a 2 year bachelor degree plan… Saving you time. Saving you money.

These tips will help you get through your bachelor’s degree in 2 years. Zero to finish. Strap in. It’s time to fly!

How to get a bachelor's degree in 2 years

2 Year Bachelor Degree Programs

A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting a bachelor’s degree is 2 years is a real thing. You can make it happen.

Keep in mind, the how-to is the best kept secret in academia:

  • You are not changing your bachelor’s degree requirements.
  • You are changing the speed. To wicked fast.

A bachelor’s degree will typically take 4 years of sitting in class.

But testing out of classes (credit by exam) and 8-week online classes are the turbo-boost needed to finish your bachelor’s degree in 2 years.

You still complete a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. You just do it in half the time!

  • You are no longer restricted by time and place.
  • You can take classes from anywhere at anytime. Mind blown! It’s like giving you time-travel skills.

Here’s the challenge: There are no accredited colleges that will advertise or a 2 year bachelor degree… but that DOES NOT keep you from finishing in 2 years.

How to get a bachelors in two years

Accredited colleges may offer a 2 year degree completion program. But in order to enroll in a degree completion program, you must already have a pile of college credits under your belt. If you do, then the school will help you finish your degree in 2 years.

But if you are starting with no college credits, you will be looking to complete your entire bachelor’s degree from zero to finish at accredited universities offering online degrees like Liberty University, American Intercontinental University, or Colorado Technical University.

Accredited 2 year bachelors degree programs

Pro tip: You can make any traditional online degree program into a 2 year bachelor’s degree if you pick the right school.

How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in 2 Years

Welcome to square one!

You have no credits. Yet. But you are going to be done with your bachelor’s degree in 2 years with these 3 simple steps.

Step 1:  Get college credit without sitting in class

Getting college credit by going to class is so 1980s. Like scrunchies and slouch socks.

I’m going to give you 2 other options for getting credit for a year (or more) of college before you even start.

I know where you are coming from. Sitting in class is horrible when your to-do list is 3 feet long, your toddler is sick, and your bills are stacking up.

Testing out of college classes

All bachelor’s degree programs will have a list of general education requirements. They are similar from state to state.

These general education classes can be mind-numbingly boring, but everybody has to take them.

Except for you. Because you are smart.

Instead of taking classes, you take an exam that proves you already know the material AND you get credit for it.

Pro tip: You do not have to ace the exam to get college credit. Most schools just require a 50% score to give you credit for the class!

How to test out of college classes

How to test out of up to 1 year of college classes:

  1. Choose an exam to take and register via the exam website.
  2. Pay your registration fee.
  3. Grab a study guide and cram, cram, cram. May require large amounts of coffee.
  4. Schedule a time to take the exam at the test center.
  5. Take that exam and get a passing score.
  6. Enjoy the credits you just earned without going to class!

Just like that.

How to Skip Classes and Still Get College Credit

Let’s say you are getting a degree at Texas A&M University. Here’s a list of the general education courses you need and the matching exams that you can do with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) to earn credit without going to class.

General Education Requirement College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exam
Communication – 6 credits College Composition – 6 credits
Mathematics – 3 credits College Algebra – 3 credits
Life and Physical Sciences – 6 credits Biology – 6 credits
Language, Philosophy and Culture – 3 credits Western Civilizations I – 3 credits
Creative Arts – 3 credits Humanities – 3 credits
American History – 6 credits History of the United States I/II – 6 credits
Government/Political Science – 6 credits American Government – 3 credits (Texas requires a course in Texas history)

May need to take a Political Science exam through Excelsior – 3 credits

Social and Behavioral Science – 3 credits Introductory Psychology – 3 credits
Institution option – 6 credits Principles of Management – 3 credits

Principles of Marketing – 3 credits


Did you see that?

You can get ALL your general education requirement credits through Credit by Exam. Your whole freshman year and half of your sophomore year could be done before you even go to class.

Check your college’s fine print before you take an exam

Over 3,000 universities accept credit by exam, but each college sets its own policies such as minimum passing score, which exams they will honor, and the maximum number of college credits that can be earned by exam.

CLEP exam minimum grades

To give you an idea, Liberty University accepts up to 30 credit hours in exam credit. That’s an entire year of college! Be sure to check your destination college’s academic catalog to make sure you are up to speed on their policies before you take an exam.

Companies Administering Exams for College Credit

There are 5 exams that offer Credit by Exam. The most-widely accepted exams are CLEP exams which are honored by over 3,000 colleges.

CLEP DSST Thomas Edison State Credit Excelsior College Exams New York University Language Exams
Number of exams available 33 34 38 52 12 credits in 50 languages


Isn’t that amazing? These Credit by Exam programs each have more than 30 exams. You can get between 3 to 6 credits for each exam. An most of the CLEP exams are multiple choice and are completed in 90 minutes!

As I mentioned, Liberty University will allow you to take up to 30 credits via CLEP exams. Most of the schools I’ve encountered accept between 18-30+ credits by exam.

The beauty of this approach is you don’t have to get 100% on an exam. At most schools, all you need is a score of 50% and you get credit for the class. Sure beats sitting in class for 16 weeks, don’t ya think?

College Credit for Life and Work Experience

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the age of college students is on the rise. There were over 8.2 million students over 25 years old who were attending college.

So what have you been up to the last few years?

Maybe you were working in law enforcement or health care, travelling, or piloting a plane. Those experiences count. You can make them count in a big way now that you have started college by using your experiences for college credit.

Credit for Prior Learning

Using Liberty University as an example, you can receive credit for prior learning either by submitting a portfolio or through your credentials. It’s not a free pass. But it is a lot less work than attending a class.

Look carefully at this list of skill sets and see how many you have. Each one could be a portfolio that earns you credit.

Skills that Translate into College Credit for Prior Learning
Administration Early Childhood Education General Management Nursing


Public Speaking
Aviation Emergency Medical Technician Hospitality Management Payroll


Real Estate
Banking Evangelism Human Resources Property Management Supervisory
Border Patrol Flight Attendant Insurance Pharmacy Technician Sign Language Interpretation
Corrections Facilities Management Law Enforcement Project Management Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Counseling Financial Planning Legal Secretary Property Management Youth Ministry


Great Credit Giveaway!

Did you notice how frequently management appears on this list? If you have worked your way up to management, you should and can get credit for that.

Also, healthcare. Hello EMT, nurses, pharmacy techs. You worked hard! Here’s your credit.

What about those of you working to keep us safe? Border patrol, corrections, and law enforcement. You get credit, too.

Let’s not forget those with the math brains! Bankers, financial planners, insurance, payroll. You get credit!

And we won’t forget the world travelers in the group. Pilots, flight attendants, ESL teachers. You get credit!

You all get credit!

I’m not Oprah, but it really does work like that.

How to Get Your Credit for Prior Learning

You take your work experience and create a portfolio.

It works like this at Liberty University:

  1. Select a class you think you already know all the material for.
  2. Answer 5 questions specific to the class you are requesting credit for.
  3. Add lots of pizazz! Documents, letters of verification from supervisors, certificates, diplomas, transcripts, job evaluations, work samples, newspaper clippings and or course your handy-dandy resume.
  4. Pay the $100 portfolio fee and wait 5 days to see if you get approved.


University credit for prior learning


There is no guarantee you will get credit for each portfolio. The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.

If you have legitimate experience after high school, you will probably be able to get credit for something.

What is there to lose in trying?

Step 2: Attend a university offering accelerated online classes

There are 2 types of class schedules: traditional and accelerated. It is like choosing between decaf or caffeinated coffee. One will make you go a lot faster!

Accelerated vs. Traditional Classes Online


Accelerated online classes are (surprise, surprise) classes offered online in 8 week cycles. You can login from anywhere at any time.

On the other hand, a traditional, on-campus semester runs for 16 weeks and requires you to attend class 3 hours each week.

With accelerated online classes, over the course of 8-weeks, you will read your textbook, watch lectures, write papers, and participate with your classmates on the virtual discussion board.

Although the assignments you complete are similar, online classes allow you to login after work, on your lunch hour, whenever it’s convenient for you. That might mean you are watching a lecture at 1 am after working a late shift or getting up early to finish your class before the kids wake up.

With online classes, you don’t have to put your life on hold. You work the classes into your life when it’s most convenient for you.

To make this work, you need to make sure the college you choose is accredited and will offer 8-week long online classes.

Here’s a list of accredited universities offering accelerated classes online:

All of the universities listed above offer 100% online degree programs.

Liberty University has one of the best policies from an accredited, well respected university for an accelerated program.

You can take 18 credit hours, about 6 classes for each fall, spring, and summer semester. So, in 12 months you would have 54 credits! Most students would have 30 credits after sitting in (and paying for!) classes for a year.

But if you like your education caffeinated with a shot of espresso and you can keep your GPA (grade point average) above 3.5, you can even petition to get approval to take 4 classes (12 credit hours) every 8 weeks at Liberty University.

That would be CRAZY! And really hard! You would be running like a caffeinated squirrel, but I’d do it if someone gave me the green light!

Earning up to 72 credits in 12 months.

That is double the regular speed.

You will need a lot of caffeine for that.

2 year bachelor degree plan

Step 3: Create your own accelerated degree plan

So, there are no “official” 2 year bachelor degree programs. But I’m putting you in charge. Let’s make a custom fit 2 year bachelor degree program for you.

You don’t need to follow a traditional plan. But you do need to be done in 2 years. We can make this happen.

  1. Grab a cup of coffee. Life is always easier with coffee.
  2. Pick a school. Really, that’s where we start. I’m going to pick Liberty University.
  3. Choose your degree. I’m going for Business Administration.
  4. Open up a browser window and search for your degree requirements. Go to Google, type in the name of your university, your desired major, and “degree requirements”. I am typing “Liberty University Bachelor in Business Administration degree requirements”. Oh Google, you know everything!
  5. Click on “degree requirements” or “degree completion plan”. Liberty gives me a neat 2 page PDF list of all the classes over 4 years. Ha haha. I’m not that slow.
  6. Create a table with 3 columns. Either on your computer or a scrap piece of paper.
  7. In the first column make a list of ALL the classes you need. Liberty says I need 40 classes for 120 credits.
  8. Compare your class list against the list of Credit for Prior Learning.
    • At Liberty, I find 105 Business courses that I can use to apply for credit with a portfolio. Now, I just need to narrow down the list.
    • Mark in the second column of your class list which classes you are going to try to get Credit for Prior Learning for.
  9. Check the CLEP website to see which classes you can test out of. In the second column, write “take exam” next to each class you are going to test out of.
  10. Review the empty boxes. All the empty boxes in column 2 are the classes you will need to take now. Doesn’t that look better already?
  11. Check your school’s course catalog for the schedule of classes. Some classes will be available all the time, some will be rotated through fall, spring and summer. Choose the rotated ones first. You don’t want to slow yourself down having to wait until the next spring to take the last class you need because you didn’t take it on the first rotation.
  12. In the third column, write down when you are going to take each class. Be very thorough! Make sure each class is accounted for.
  13. Now finish your coffee. Take a deep breath, sit back, and finish that last bit of your now cold coffee. In less than an hour you have created a blueprint that will let you finish an entire bachelor degree in 2 years.

That’s it. It wasn’t all that hard, right?

Take your blueprint for a 2 year bachelor degree and pin it up where you can see it. Add some inspirational “I can do this!” doodles and get started.

Sample Timeline: How to Get Your Bachelor’s Degree in 2 Years

How quick you finish does depend on where you start. To help you get your bachelor’s degree in 2 years I am going to break it down depending on where you are right now.

Whether this is your first time attending college or if you are coming back to college with a few credits. Or if you have already completed 2 years and have 60 credits already.

You can do this. Choice which one you are and let’s get that 2 year degree.

First-time college student: You have zero college credits

You are starting at square one. You’ve never taken a college course but you are going to rock this now!

I’ll continue our example using Liberty University. As you can probably tell by now, I am a big fan of Liberty’s 8-week online classes and generous 9 credit hour course load. Those two features alone make them worth a second glance. Add to that their financial aid policies and tuition discounts for public service/first-responders/military — and I’m an even bigger fan. I guess it’s no surprise that I plan to get my Doctorate in Business Administration from them.

But you can use ANY university you want to get your bachelor’s degree in 2 years. They just have to offer 8-week (or less) online classes and allow you to take 9 credit hours per term. Most only allow you to take 6 credit hours per term and that will slow you down considerably.

If you decide to ONLY take online accelerated classes and aren’t going to muck around with CLEP exams or Credit for Prior Learning, it will take you 2 years and 8 weeks.

First-time college student with zero credit hours

Semester Semester Length Number of classes / credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Summer 6 classes x 3 credit hours = 18 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Fall 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Summer 6 classes x 3 credit hours = 18 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 4 classes x 3 credit hours = 12 credit hours

Bachelor’s degree completed: 120 credit hours



Yep, it sure is.

But that is just a little bit fast. If we put some more caffeine in your degree program, we could knock off 1 more year. Having you at zero to done in 1 year and 8 weeks.

Here are 10 introductory level exams you can take to earn 30 credits in 1 year.

  1. American Literature: 3 credits
  2. College Composition: 3 credits
  3. American Government: 3 credits
  4. Introductory Sociology: 3 credits
  5. Human Growth and Development: 3 credits
  6. Natural Sciences: 3 credits
  7. Information Systems: 3 credits
  8. Introductory Business Law: 3 credits
  9. Principles of Management: 3 credits
  10. Principles of Marketing: 3 credits

You can be done your degree in the time it takes Apple to release a new iPhone. Now that’s an upgrade!

Returning college student with less than 59 credits hours completed

You’ve already been around the board, but you still need to finish your degree. This time you are going to knock it out of the park.

Life has a funny way of providing motivation as you get older.

If you already have 30 credits tucked away, you can be done in 1 year and 32 weeks just by taking online accelerated classes.

Returning college student who has earned 30 credit hours already

Semester Semester Length Number of classes / credit hours
Transfer credits 30 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Summer 6 classes x 3 credit hours = 18 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Fall 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours

Bachelor’s degree completed: 120 credit hours


That’s a decent pace. But I bet you want to go faster.

What do you say to just over a year to being done with your bachelor’s degree? You can do that!

You can knock 30 credits off by testing out of classes and submitting a credit for prior learning portfolio.

You probably already have credit for some of the introductory courses, but what about:

  1. Analyzing and Interpreting Literature: 3 credits
  2. Humanities: 3 credits
  3. History of the United States I/II (two exams): 6 credits
  4. Principles of Macroeconomics: 3 credits
  5. Principles of Microeconomics: 3 credits
  6. Western Civilization I/II (two exams): 6 credits
  7. Chemistry: 3 credits
  8. Precalculus: 3 credits

If there is any class that you haven’t already taken that is available through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), go ahead and test out of the class. That is your fastest option to getting credit.

If you take full advantage of the online accelerated classes, Credit by Exam, and Credit for Prior Learning, you could start this September and be done by next November. 1 year, 8 weeks.

Returning college student with 60 credit hours completed

You’ve started and you are halfway done. Let’s get you through the second half of your degree.

Most likely you have all your freshman and sophomore introductory courses done. Now you are needing the higher level credits. The 300 and 400 level courses.

If you go like crazy and do the online, accelerated classes, you can be done in 1 year and 8 weeks. Not too bad.

Returning college student who has earned 60 credit hours already

Semester Semester Length Number of classes / credit hours
Transfer credits 60 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 1 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Spring 2 8 weeks 3 classes x 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
Summer 6 classes x 3 credit hours = 18 credit hours
Fall 1 8 weeks 2 classes x 3 credit hours = 6 credit hours

Bachelor’s degree completed: 120 credit hours


You still want to go faster though, right? You can see the finish line and you just want to be done.

It can be done faster.

CLEP exams won’t usually give you those higher level credits. But there are a few exceptions. Beautiful exceptions!

Here are 2 exams that are 300/400 level courses with CLEP:

  • Business Law: 3 credits
  • Principles of Marketing: 3 credits

Excelsior College does offer more higher level courses, but make sure that they will fulfill your major requirements.

3 exams you can take at Excelsior that are at the 300/400 level are:

  • Operations Management: 3 credits
  • Organizational Behavior: 3 credits
  • Human Resource Management: 3 credits

As you are getting to the end of your degree, the required courses become more specific. But if there is an option to test out of elective credits at this level. Do it! It will still help you finish faster.

All colleges have a minimum number of classes you have to take with that school to be granted a degree. Most refer to this as a residency requirement. For Liberty University, the requirement is 50% of your classes in your major must be completed at Liberty University.

If your degree requirements still have some wiggle room to test out of courses and you complete five 300/400 level exams, you could be done in 11 months. Less than a year. And you would still have time for summer vacation.

Bachelor Degree Completion Programs

Bachelor degree completion programs do exist. These are what most colleges are referring to when they say they have a 2 year bachelor degree program. They aren’t doing you any favors. They are just accepting your college credits. Any accredited university will do that for you.

Bachelor degree completion programs are meant to help you finish a degree that you already started. You already have credit or an associate degree. Now you need a bachelor’s degree.

They would work for you if:

  • You already have existing credit, usually at least 60 hours
  • You have completed 2 years or an equivalent of study

A college that offers an online bachelor’s degree completion program allows you to finish a degree by transferring your existing credit to the degree you want. They also offer online and accelerated classes.

How you do this is pretty basic:

  • Apply to the college
  • Submit your transcripts
  • Wait to be accepted
  • Once accepted, meet with your program advisor to outline your roadmap to graduation

Even in a bachelor degree completion program, you can still use credit by exam and credit for prior learning. Talk to your advisor and make a plan!


What do you think? 2 years from zero to done.

2 years of hard work using the smart, detailed plan of action we laid out. Earning college credit without sitting in class, using accelerated classes, and your own actionable degree plan.

It’s all ready to go. Does the thought of being done in 2 years motivate you to jump in?

You can take the customized accelerated degree plan you made and write your end date on there.

Look at that date.

It’s not that far in the future. Maybe 2 years and 8 weeks. Maybe less than a year. You could be holding your bachelor’s degree.

What about you? Are you going to put your degree plan into motion? I welcome your comments and questions!

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