Working professionals need to keep learning to stay competitive in today's job market but finding the time and resources can be tricky. A “one size fits all approach” doesn’t meet the educational needs of all types of learners, especially adult learners who need to balance going to school along with the demands of their family life and career. That’s why our goal is to provide unique opportunities for those who don’t fit the mold of a traditional full-time, on-campus student.
To further help you get a degree, meet your goals and advance your career, we’re happy to announce that the University of Washington Continuum College is partnering with Excelsior College, an accredited, not-for-profit online institution. Through this partnership, the colleges will provide University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education certificate graduates with a pathway to an Excelsior degree by offering discounted tuition and awarding college credit for select professional or noncredit certificates.
The idea to increase the number of pathways from noncredit to credit programs emerged after a meeting between David Schejbal, the president of Excelsior College, and Rovy Branon, vice provost at UW Continuum College, and the desire to create more opportunities for students to earn additional credentials.
"Learning can take many forms and often occurs outside of what we consider traditional classrooms. In today’s fast-paced and quickly changing world, people need flexibility to continue their learning while balancing their work and other life obligations,” says Branon. “Our institutions have long traditions of serving adult and non-traditional learners and we are excited to create more flexible paths for students to meet their personal and professional goals.”
This partnership means all graduates of UW Professional & Continuing Education certificate programs receive 20% off tuition for undergraduate degree programs and 15% off graduate degree programs and get a discount on their graduation fee for any Excelsior degree program.
In addition to the discounts, the collaboration supports the transferability of credits from two certificate programs, the UW Certificate in Python Programming and the UW Certificate in Digital Marketing, into select Excelsior degree programs.
“The collaboration between UW and Excelsior will allow students flexibility in customizing the best learning experience to meet their needs and an opportunity to build on prior learning,” says Schejbal. “This partnership can make degree completion more accessible to students, and I am pleased to welcome UW as a partner.”
The UW certificate programs fit well with the undergraduate and graduate degree programs at Excelsior College, according to Scott Dolan, the dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Excelsior College. “The choices we made enable us to create connections between the noncredit learning experiences at UW and our degree programs,” says Dolan.
Plus, both programming and digital marketing are popular and growing in terms of skills needed for organizations’ business operations. “As a college, we have a strategy to align our programs with the future of work, and the competencies of these programs will continue to be in high demand as we move forward,” says Dolan.
If you’ve completed the UW Certificate in Python Programming, you can transfer nine credits toward an Excelsior Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology or Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology. Or, if you earned the UW Certificate in Digital Marketing, you’re able to transfer six credits toward an Excelsior Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management.
Excelsior courses are offered in an eight-week format, which enables students to complete the degree efficiently. However, instead of taking four years to complete an undergraduate degree as it would at a traditional university, the ability to transfer your UW certificate credits allows you to shorten your path to a degree, saving you time and money.
“Transferring in these certificates can save students 16 weeks to 24 weeks of their degree program,” says Kailey Soundara, Excelsior’s director of business development. “In terms of cost savings for tuition, it could save about $3,690 for an undergrad program and $3,300 for a graduate program,” she says.
Excelsior’s approach to transfer credit also allows you to use credits from prior learning beyond the UW certificate programs, such as previous college experiences and college-level exams, and to receive credit for military and certain workforce training. You can transfer all but seven credits for most bachelor’s degrees or up to 15 credits for a master’s degree.
“At the undergraduate level, we have removed the barriers to degree completion that students face at many other institutions. For example, we only require students to take seven credits with us to complete their degree,” says Schejbal. “Sometimes students are completing their undergraduate degree in less than a year because we are able to articulate credits that students have from a variety of other sources into our degree programs.”
The partnership between UW Continuum College and Excelsior College also benefits current Excelsior students. If they’re enrolled in one of the Excelsior’s aligning degree programs, they may take the UW Certificate in Python Programming or the UW Certificate in Digital Marketing and transfer the credits they earn from UW Continuum College into their Excelsior degree program.
“I think this partnership’s important because it demonstrates a collaborative spirit of two forward-thinking institutions that recognize learning can take many forms,” says Dolan. “Both institutions have a willingness to evaluate various forms of learning and translate that learning into credit in a way that works to the benefit of students. And I think that’s the end goal — to help students learn and to get to the finish line, where they can earn a credential that can profoundly impact their lives now and moving forward.”