What is U2G?
Iowa U2G is a set of programs developed to allow students to graduate with both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.
How does it work?
Students apply to Iowa U2G in their junior year. The minimum requirements are 80 semester hours completed (30 semester hours at Iowa if you’re a transfer student), and a GPA of at least 3.25. The exact application process and requirements vary by department. Once admitted, the student will complete fourth-year course work that is counted towards both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For example, a student would complete 6 semester hours of courses designated for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in the fall semester, and 6 semester hours in the spring (course numbers between 3000-4999 for all colleges except the College of Engineering, where the numbers are 3000-5999).
What are the current U2G programs by graduate major?
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Community and Behavioral Health
- Computer Science BA and BS
- Computer Science & Engineering BSE
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Health and Human Physiology
- Health Management Policy
- Industrial Engineering
- Math Education
- Mechanical Engineering
- Occupational and Environmental Health
- Public Health
- Science Education
- Urban and Regional Planning
Why should students think about this early?
The process of getting a degree takes time and planning. Students who are interested in the Iowa U2G option need to be aware of the courses they are taking and in what sequence, so that they meet the requirements of both degrees, such as completing the minimum of 120 semester hours, including their General Education Requirements (GERs), needed for a bachelor’s degree.
What are the benefits?
- Time savings: Iowa U2G students finish their bachelor’s and master’s degrees quicker than their peers. They finish both degrees in five years versus the normal six years it takes to complete both degrees separately.
- Financial reward: The return on investment is high. Based on United States Census Bureau data, U.S. workers between the ages of 21 and 64 with a Master's degree or higher earn an average annual salary of $55,242, versus those with a Bachelor's degree whose average annual salary is $42,877. (US News and World Report, 2015).
- Cost Savings: Students experience an average tuition savings of over $10,000 by earning both degrees in five years versus six years. These savings equal one semester of undergraduate tuition and one semester of graduate tuition in the appropriate programs. Students can calculate their savings using the UI’s tuition tables.
- Students will save money on housing, transportation, books, etc. The Office of Financial Aid estimates these additional expenses at $16,250 for the 2015-2016 academic year. This program also reduces the student loan debt accrued by many students.
- Iowa U2G increases employment opportunities: Some areas such as higher education administration, public affairs, and social services, show trends toward the master's degree replacing the bachelor's as the minimum requirement for employment.
- Greater career advancement: A graduate degree offers “proof” of the skills employers need in the 21st century such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. A graduate degree provides deeper study and understanding of your field of interest.