The University of Colorado's Boulder campus has revised the requirements for students pursuing double degrees, which could reduce classes and tuition for some current and future students starting in the spring semester.
Previously, students pursuing a double degree were required to have at least 145 credits to graduate. The new requirements allow students to take only the credits needed for each degree and do not include the credit-hour minimum.
University spokeswoman Malinda Miller-Huey said while some double-degree paths will still require 145 credits or more to graduate, others like the political science and journalism combo, will require only 130 credits.
"There used to be this rule that in order to get double degree, there was this limit across the board of 145 credits," Miller-Huey said. "So, for students pursuing a double degree in journalism and political science, they only need 130 credits to fulfill the requirements for both degrees, whereas students pursuing an engineering degree and an arts and sciences degree will likely still need 145 or more, since the core classes don't overlap as much."
The 15-credit-hour difference is an average semester for an undergraduate and costs about $4,958 for an in-state student in the College of Arts and Sciences. For many students these courses are electives that won't meet any other requirements, but it depends on their history and the program.
"Hopefully, they would be taking relevant electives that would strengthen their degrees," said Provost Russell L. Moore.
An average of 150 students each year receive a double degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. This is different than students double majoring in subjects which each fall under the same degree.
"It's a small number but they're very motivated students," Miller-Huey said.
Alli Collier, a senior at CU, is pursuing her double degrees in Spanish and journalism. The revised credit requirements might allow her to graduate a semester early.
"I think the extra credits would be fun to take, but they're really not applicable to my career path," she said.
Collier was excited to take her Spanish electives during a semester abroad, but she considers her journalism electives unnecessary.
"Adding little ticky-tacky things for the journalism major isn't worth it," said Collier.
Collier still needed to check with her advisers, but if she doesn't have to take an extra 15 credits, she won't. Coming from Nevada, Collier pays out-of-state tuition. That's a big concern for her.
"I don't want to say those courses are irrelevant, but they are costly," Miller-Huey said.
While the revised requirements may help some students, others may have already finished their credit requirements.
Mia Dee, also a senior at CU, is working toward a double degree in integrative physiology and studio art. Dee decided to defer her art major until later and graduate this December. Otherwise, she'd have to stay another year.
"For me it's time that's the issue, more than the money," she said.
Dee switched majors her sophomore year and many of those previous credits turned into electives. She's hoping to finish the art degree during her masters program.