What are Stackable Degree Programs?

While a stackable degree program may sound like something between a college education and a fun snack, they’re becoming increasingly popular amongst colleges interested in helping students attend graduate level degree programs. While the name is not exactly self-explanatory, they’re fairly easy to understand—and for many students, a great option.

Stackable degree programs do resemble their name; essentially, they are degree programs that lend themselves to building into other degree programs. Think of a stackable degree program as a building block toward your continuing education.

While this isn’t exactly a new idea in education, it has seen significant changes in recent years. Initially, stackable classes were offered primarily through non-credit wings of educational facilities, allowing students to gain knowledge but not credit. As the economy has changed, so has the collegiate approach to stackable degree programs.

Diving into stackable degree programs

Instead of viewing degree programs in a traditional way, stackable programs utilize certificates and other non-traditional ways of measuring and acquiring knowledge. While a degree is valuable, stackable degree programs tend to place more emphasis on acquiring a chunk of knowledge.

The idea is that such degree programs would provide units of education that are more likely to stand alone, even outside the degree program. Within the degree program, they create context within existing college programs.

By combining certificates and other units of stackable knowledge, colleges create degree programs.

A few advantages

Providing a greater context for knowledge is one reason it’s easy to get behind stackable degree programs, but there are many others as well.

Stackable degree programs offer more fluidity between programs, potentially providing an easier opportunity to switch majors or obtain double degrees. For instance, one chunk of knowledge may apply to programs in both technology and business, making it easier for students to specialize in both.

As stackable degree programs catch on, students will also be able to move from undergraduate to graduate programs more easily, as well as between schools. These programs have the potential to offer easier transfers and more consistent knowledge.

Students enrolled in stackable degree programs are also able to start performing work within their degree program earlier than other students may be able to.

[RELATED: Popular Campus Jobs that Can Help You Explore College Majors]

These programs can also foster important relationships with professionals within the industry of study, leading to jobs upon graduation. This is especially great for graduate students, who sometimes find real-world experience lacking in their programs.

Stackable degree programs promise a new way of looking at education, college degrees, and workforce preparation. As more schools adopt such models, students can expect to feel more integrated into life outside their academic institution and—fingers crossed—secure jobs quicker.