BC’s non-traditional degrees

The traditional college bachelor’s degree program consists of a four-year program, two of those years are usually taking general education courses and the other two years are spent taking courses specific to students’ area of interest.

Now, colleges have been starting to try the opposite. The concept of an “upside down” degree is generally that students would start off taking the classes that are in their intended area of study and then follow up with the general education courses.

An article posted by The Atlantic exploring the new concept stated that typically, “Undergraduates are supposed to get a general education that will prepare them for training, which they will presumably get once they land a job or go to graduate school. Any training that happens before then just doesn’t count.”

Bellevue College currently is one of the colleges that are offering “upside down” degrees, which the college deems as professional or technical degrees and certificates. An example of the professional degrees that Bellevue College has to offer is the Bachelor of Applied Sciences. “We’ve had a number of successful and strong programs like the BSN radioactivity,” said Tom Nielson, the vice president of instruction at Bellevue College, regarding the BAS programs.

Nielson also explained the main purpose behind BAS degrees or technical and professional programs. “How it works here is that we have some programs that we call professional programs like nursing, interior design, information technology, and when you traditionally get an associate’s degree in those fields they don’t transfer to a university very well,” said Nielson, “So that’s essentially why we are creating these programs. Those associate level programs teach students how to do the skills in the specific area.”

While exploring these degrees, Bellevue College student Sally Elhousainy said, “I think it’s great because it helps students familiarize with the careers so that we know what we are getting into and how well would I do in that particular field.”

“It also teaches me things I would need to know for any higher education university classes, such as grad school, that I might want to go into in the future,” noted Elhousainy.
“We are continuing to grow in our programs,” said Nielson.

This fall quarter, Bellevue College released a new addition to the professional degrees – accounting and data analytics. The plans for next fall quarter are to continue to add more programs to the professional degrees. Nielson continued, “Next fall we are launching a degree called Bachelor of Applied Science in Molecular Bioscience which will prepare grads to work in laboratories doing research as technicians.”

For the complete list of technical degrees offered at Bellevue College, visit the online degree catalog.