Registration for US 2019 is now open          
University News
View all

Purdue Receives Approval for Competency-Based Degree


A new program at Purdue University (IN) offers students an alternative route to a bachelor’s degree.

Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology — the institution’s first competency-based degree — received final approval from accreditors last month.

Students in competency-based programs earn academic credit based on their mastery of content and skills, rather than the culmination of credit hours. Supporters say the Purdue degree, which also includes a mentorship component, is the first baccalaureate program of its kind in the nation.

“This degree creates a study plan around the student rather than an academic schedule,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “Students take work at their own pace through the program and, in the end, come away with a proven skill set that is meaningful to employers in today’s business world.”

The Purdue program emphasizes hands-on learning and collaboration. To receive a degree, students must demonstrate expertise in eight content areas ranging from design to effective communication.

Through the program, students learn about a variety of fields, including computing, engineering, construction, and aviation technologies. The humanities-infused curriculum also emphasizes leadership, innovation, ethics, and teamwork.

Purdue’s approach is a promising one, Charla Long, executive director of the Competency-Based Education Network, told Inside Higher Ed.

“Competencies can be developed outside your discipline,” she said, “and be as relevant to your discipline.”

Other institutions that offer competency-based degrees include the University of Michigan, as well as schools within the University of Texas system.