Finish That Bachelor’s Degree: What is a “Degree Completion” Program?

August 31, 2023 - Rick Robb

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Very often, situations come along and force you to put your plans on hold — a job, kids, illness, a pandemic, life. No one starts a college degree thinking that they won’t finish it. Whether good situations or bad, stuff happens sometimes to change our plans. Before you know it three, four, or more years have passed, and you just don’t know how to get back on track and finish your degree.

Degree Completion

Though you may not have heard the phrase, “degree completion,” it’s pretty much what it sounds like; if you started a degree and earned roughly 60 transferrable credits, a degree-completion program offers a flexible, affordable way to finish your bachelor’s. Maybe you started working on a degree years ago and had to withdraw for a while. Or you earned an associate degree at a community college or branch campus and want to turn that into a bachelor’s degree. Either way, a degree completion program is a great way to get that sought-after diploma. (Even if your credits are from a decade or two ago, many of them may still transfer over.)

The best part is that you can complete your degree from home on the days and times that work for you. No need to quit your job — until you graduate, of course. Coursework is fully online and, with very few exceptions, have no virtual class meeting times.

What Kind of Majors Can I Do Online?

While you may not be able to complete the major you originally sought, there are plenty degree-completion programs to choose from. To begin the process, take a look at the online degree programs obtainable through UNM Online. We offer 13 programs that will help you turn your earned credits into a bachelor’s degree: from business to ethnic studies to liberal arts to psychology and more. Some programs even allow registered nurses, registered dental hygienists, or licensed radiologic technicians to expand their careers by advancing their previous credentials to a Bachelor of Science in those fields. Plus, with our Accelerated Online Programs’ 8-week semesters, you may be able to complete your degree faster than you would with traditional in-person classes.

Another Way to Pay

With the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, NM residents working on their first bachelor’s degree who meet other eligibility requirements can expect to have tuition and fees covered by the state — yet one more reason to come back to finish. For degrees offered in an Accelerated Online Program format, students from outside New Mexico can expect to pay the same affordable tuition rate as in-state residents and may also be eligible for non-resident transfer scholarships.

Get Help Finishing with the Graduation Project

If you are a former UNM student who has been gone for more than a year and have earned a minimum of 90 credit hours — with at least 30 of those completed at UNM — you may qualify for the Graduation Project, a special program designed to help former Lobos complete their undergraduate degrees by eliminating some of the roadblocks to returning. To qualify, you must also have had a GPA of 2.0 or higher and no Bursar’s account holds on your record. See the Graduation Project webpage for eligibility criteria.

UNM Online is Here to Help You Figure it Out

Not sure which program works best for you? Reach out to the UNM Online Student Success Team. We have decades of experience at The University of New Mexico and in higher education. We can talk to you about the merits of various degree programs including potential future careers and help you make an informed decision.

You can reach us by phone Monday through Friday 8-5 Mountain Time, by email at, or by joining us on Zoom for Virtual Advisement Hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to Noon, Mountain Time. Meeting ID: 967 7118 3893