UMN Morris announces Degree in Three option for bachelor’s degree

Sue Dieter

For the past three years, the University of Minnesota Morris has been one of 13 institutions participating in a nationwide pilot program to create three-year bachelor’s degree programs.  

Chancellor Janet Schrunk Ericksen is excited to roll out the “Degree in Three” program for the Morris campus. Degree in Three at UMN Morris could save the average student as much as $20,000 on the total cost of their college attendance. 

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“The cost of college continues to be a concern. For families and students looking for value along with high quality, the Degree in Three option at UMN Morris might be the perfect fit. With Minnesota’s extensive Postsecondary Enrollment Options and College in the Classroom offerings in high schools, a three-year degree is an especially attractive and very manageable option for students.”

Around 60% of this year's UMN Morris first-year students came in with some college credit. Approximately one-third had more than one semester of credits, and around 20% came in with more than one year's worth of credit (sophomore standing or higher).

While cost is one of the advantages, there are other reasons to consider the Degree in Three option. Students may want to start a graduate program or enter the workforce sooner, or they may simply want to have room for more of the experiences that employers have noted they consider in hiring, such as a longer term internship or study abroad. 

Many of the other institutions involved in the “College in 3” pilot program led by Robert Zemsky, a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lori Carrell, chancellor of the University of Minnesota at Rochester, are rolling out the option for select majors or creating new programs with revised curriculum. At UMN Morris, Ericksen notes, more than thirty majors have a three-year path, a breadth that to her knowledge no other campus in the U.S. is offering.

“The three-year option will look different for each major, and students may have to take a few summer courses depending on whether or not they come in with credit. But this is a flexible, affordable option for any student and one that includes opportunities for hands-on learning through research, internships, and studying abroad.”  The UMN Morris plans allow students to achieve a University of Minnesota degree while working closely with faculty and staff in an environment that stresses critical thinking and problem-solving. And they can do it while still participating in the high-impact experiences that can make a major difference to their future.

Ericksen stresses that regardless of whether a student finishes their education in three or four years, “UMN Morris delivers a top-notch education that prepares students for lives of leadership and service, for graduate and professional school, and for the shifting landscape of work that they are entering.”

For more information about Degree in Three at UMN Morris, visit