• How is the Interdisciplinary Studies Adult Degree Program (ADP) different from other degree programs at USA or other colleges?
A: Most degree programs are very structured, outlining in detail degree requirements. The Adult Degree Program allows students more flexibility because they actually design a large portion of their degree (about 48 semester hours) through a “Concentration.” The ADP degree, like other degrees offered at USA, is accredited and leads to a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, depending on the student’s choice of concentrations.
A: A student who satisfies general University of South Alabama admission requirements and is at least 25 years of age and/or is balancing the adult responsibilities of work, family, community and education is eligible for enrollment in the Adult Degree Program.
A: Students pursuing a degree through the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies create a concentration, rather than having a single area of study, by selecting courses from three (3) or four (4) related academic disciplines offered by USA. The student’s choice of disciplines determines their concentration. The ADP offers seven (7) concentrations including: Administrative Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Arts, Community Services, Human Services, Liberal Studies and Professional Development.
A: The difference in the ADP and traditional degree programs is primarily its flexibility, rather than its degree of difficulty. In fact, the majority of the courses are taken from the regular university curriculum. As with all degrees offered at USA, the ADP must meet the rigorous requirements of accreditation by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS). The ADP requirements, especially in the area of written and oral communication skills, are sometimes more rigorous than other degree programs.
Adult students who are concerned about their academic readiness for college are encouraged to explore courses offered through the Department of Developmental Studies and are required to take placement tests in math. All ADP students are also required to complete the department’s foundation early in the program of study. This course provides information and assignments that help adults assess their academic readiness and learning styles, develop good study habits, clarify their goals, and help them get acquainted with resources available at the university, thereby enabling successful completion of a college degree.
A: The answer to this question depends on several variables. The ADP requires that a student complete a minimum of 128 semester hours (which is standard for any undergraduate degree at USA), or about 43 courses. Variables include the amount of transfer credit the student has and the number of courses that a student can reasonably complete each semester. While some adult students can attend full-time (four or more courses per semester), most adults work full-time and can only take one or two courses a semester, which means it might take longer for them to complete a degree than a traditional college student.
A: Colleges which advertise degree completion in 2 years may offer “fast track” or intensive course formats, which means that class time is compressed into a shorter period of time, for example, five weeks for a course as opposed to 15 weeks required for a regular semester at USA. The ADP is not a “fast track” program, and students take the majority of their courses from the regular course offerings at USA. Fast track programs are usually limited in the types of degree that can be completed, and such programs usually require that students have already completed at least half of their degree. The ADP offers more options through the interdisciplinary concentration because students can choose courses from more than 25 academic departments at USA.
A: Yes. Due to the flexibility of designing a large portion of their degree, ADP students are usually able to complete their entire degree by taking only evening, weekend, and online classes. However, there are some academic departments at USA which offer few, if any, courses at these times. ADP students may be restricted in completing disciplines in these academic areas. The ADP academic advisors work closely with our students directing them to the courses that are available at the needed times so that they will not be delayed in completing their degree.
A: Yes. Academic credit from most junior or community colleges will transfer to USA and apply towards the ADP. A maximum of 64 semester credit hours can be transferred from a community college. However, USA and most senior universities do not accept vocational/technical courses. Only academic credit for the same or similar courses offered at USA can be transferred. Also, courses taken at many private vocational/technical colleges will not transfer due to the lack of required accreditation. The Offices of Admission and Registrar have the final word on transfer credit accepted at USA.*
A: While undergraduate college credit may become outdated, it never expires. The best way to determine if credit from other colleges or USA credit from other degree programs will transfer and be applicable to the Adult Degree Program is to meet with an ADP academic advisor for a tentative evaluation. Because of the flexibility of the ADP, many students find that a larger portion of transfer credit actually applies to the ADP degree as opposed to other more structured degrees offered at USA or other colleges. This means fewer required courses and less time to complete the degree. (*See note above)
A: USA uses the American Council of Education (ACE) recommendations for evaluation of credit from military or non-collegiate workforce training programs. Additionally, students may be eligible to receive credit for prior learning experience by taking standardized exams available through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or by participation in the Prior Learning Assessment by Portfolio program. Because of the flexibility of the ADP, credits earned through these “alternate” routes are generally more readily used toward the degree compared to other degree programs. A maximum of 32 hours of “alternate” credit may be counted toward a degree at USA.
A: Many adults who enroll in the Adult Degree Program are planning a career change or may be entering the job market for the first time; others hope the degree will provide more opportunities or a promotion where they are currently employed. Many ADP students have as their goal admission to graduate school upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
While we cannot assure students that a job or promotion will be waiting for them upon graduation, we take the goals of our students very seriously. ADP advisors and faculty work individually with both prospective and enrolled adult students to determine the personal and professional goals of each person. ADP students continue to work closely with the department academic advisor throughout their enrollment in their selection of courses, disciplines and a concentration that will help them make their goals a reality. Students are also strongly encouraged to meet with a counselor in the Career Services Center on campus. We also recognize that the ADP is not for everyone, and when needed, we will refer students to advisors in other USA degree programs.
A: Individuals interested in the Adult Degree Program may attend one of the information sessions offered each semester or schedule an individual appointment with an advisor. All prospective students are encouraged to meet with the ADP academic advisor before enrolling in the program to determine if their education goals can be met through an interdisciplinary studies degree. The academic advisor also assists new students by providing information on admission (or readmission) to USA, registration for classes, financial aid and other services offered by the University.