University of Iowa announces first three-year majors

Written by Theresa Rose on February 19, 2015

Accelerated options will be available to new undergraduates this fall

First-year undergraduates headed to the University of Iowa this fall can sign up for Iowa Degree in Three—a new accelerated program designed for motivated students who want to graduate faster and cut costs.

Last fall, UI President Sally Mason introduced plans to develop three-year bachelor’s degree options. Today (Feb. 19) she announced the first majors available under the program: communication studies, English, history, international studies, marketing, and theatre arts.

“Iowa Degree in Three is designed for students who are ready to complete more semester hours per term than average, or who come to the university with completed college credits,” she said. “It’s a flexible, affordable option developed to meet the needs of our best-prepared students.”

Students can enroll in the program after beginning classes in the fall and discussing the option with academic advisors. Participating students agree to talk with advisors regularly, meet checkpoints established by UI colleges and departments, and fulfill other requirements designed to help them stay on track.

Three-year degrees require the same number of credits as four-year options, but demand that students take a heavier course load and proceed at a faster pace. To help pave the way, the program allows:

• Participating students to use the Summer Hawk Tuition Grant—awarded to all new students to offset the cost of summer-session study—during two summers instead of the usual one
• Colleges and departments offering three-year majors to approve alternative courses or waivers when required courses are not available to participants

The initial slate of majors includes some of the university’s most-popular undergraduate programs. Others may be added as the three-year option evolves.

The new program builds on the success of the UI’s Four-Year Graduation Plan, which is available to nearly all first-year UI undergraduates.

“The four-year focus and our emphasis on student success in general have boosted our four-year graduation rate well above the national average,” Mason said. “The four-year plan remains a great fit for most students, but three-year degrees offer an exciting new option.”

Find more information about the program at

Contact: Lon Moeller, associate provost for undergraduate education,, 319-335-0148