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How Long Until I Earn My Online Degree?

by Monica Smith

Jun 05, 2019, 9:00 PM.

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For online students, the key to finishing is planning. And for those who plan, there is one question that comes up often from students: how long will it take, from start to finish, to earn a degree?

While the question seems simple enough, the answer can be a little more complicated depending on the learner’s individual case. The answer can range from as little as a year to much longer. Transferred credits will also affect your personal graduation timeline. It also depends on what you can handle and where you are in your studies—graduate or undergraduate. Are you planning to do one course at a time each semester or several?

Most undergraduate degrees require learners to finish 120 credits, so if you earn 30 credits every year, you’ll finish on time in just four years. You’ll avoid excess credit fees and start your career faster. Best of all, based on median earnings, tuition, and average debt you could save up to $75,000 on your education if you finish in four instead of six years.

Also, specific programs may offer more accelerated options for completion, while others are cohort-based, in which you move through the program with other students. Choose a degree program that best meets your career goals and works with your schedule. Your FIU Online enrollment coordinator will be able to provide more information. Check in with your advisor to gain tips on how to stay on track and progress toward earning your degree.  

For graduate students, some programs offer more flexibility on enrollment if you need to take a semester off. But be sure to find out if the class you’re postponing for now will be offered in a future semester. If the class isn’t offered within the timeframe that you need those credits, then you may be forced to take a class you don’t want to take to fulfill the credit hours you need for graduation. Alternatively, you may just need to wait until the course is offered again. The time it generally takes to complete a graduate degree program can range from just 10 months to up to two years—or even more if the program is flexible and you’re taking your time.

The key is to look ahead to see what will work for your lifestyle. Again, and as with most things, planning is essential.