K’Leasha Liles

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University is launching a new degree program, which is geared toward adults, including military veterans, who are at least 25 years old and have attained an associate degree or have at least 60 transferable credits.

The new bachelor of professional studies program will launch in spring 2020 after it was given the final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

“Enriching our academic program mix with new and innovative programs to address the needs of our community is a goal of the Winthrop Plan, so we are excited to make our first adult degree completion program a reality,” said Winthrop President Dan Mahony, in a press release.

Dr. Scott Amundsen, associate professor and director of the professional studies program, said the program is flexible and affordable, because it includes a special tuition rate that is 30 percent lower than the regular rate.

“In our five county area, there is close to a 100,000 people who have 60 or more credits and no bachelors degree,” said Amundsen, who was a guest on the Palmetto Report to discuss the new degree program. “Winthrop has never had a program specifically designed to meet the needs of these adult students who are wanting to complete their degree.”

This program offers two concentrations for students, including organizational operations and general health studies, which will allow them to take classes outside of their curriculum.

Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, on a 4.0 scale, from their prior institutions, including a 2.0 during their last semester of attendance.

“The admission process is different from the traditional undergrad admission process,” said Amundsen.

“We work with each student one on one, using the concierge model and we understand that every adult is coming to the table with different concerns (and) different credits,” he said.

“I personally sit down with each student one on one, talk about their academic goals, give them an unofficial transfer evaluation right on the spot and again try to match up their goals with what the program has to offer.”

Amundsen said it shouldn’t take students longer than two years to complete the program, considering they’re entering in with transfer credits.

He also said students who have considerable work experience or job training may also be able to gain academic credit for it, if they can show that experience met certain learning outcomes.