Help me finish my degree
July 21, 2008 5:50 AM   Subscribe

I completed about 3/4 of the requirements for a BA in history at a US university. I last attended about three years ago. I now want to complete my degree, but I am permanently settled in the UK.

Going back to the states isn't an option, so I need to either find an accredited university with an online program based in the US that will accept my credit hours from the University of Tennessee, or I need to somehow finish my degree at a university here in the UK. I think the classroom experience is important for a history degree, so I would actually prefer the second option, as long as my credits from the US could somehow be converted to at least half of the requirements for a history degree here in the UK - I don't mind going back to school for a year-and-a-half, but I don't want to go back for another three years. I also wouldn't mind taking A-levels, if necessary.

This is my first foray into this idea, I will of course do some research and speak to people at my old university and at local universities here in Birmingham, but I am just looking to hear your experiences or your opinions about the viability of my ideas.
posted by F.Jasmine Addams to Education (8 answers total)
I'd venture that doing it online is going to be way easier than trying to do it in the UK.
posted by k8t at 6:04 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: UCAS process most students' entry to universities in the UK. Ring them and see what they say. They've always been a helpful bunch in my experience, and can deal with your combination of prior study and US background. Try the open university as well. Distance learning, but with residential sessions, as well. But in general, most university applications departments should be helpful. Students from abroad are an important element at most UK universities now, and the push to get more students studying at this level means that most admissions departments are able to offer places to students that don't have the 'classic' handful of A Levels that were previously the only way to get in.

This could be an advantage for you: you've obviously got the ability and the experience, although you may need to explain why you stopped studying. Subject departments across the country tend to have different areas of specialism: try finding the ones that are of most interest (their websites will list research interests for each member of staff for example) and contact them directly to get a feel for how well your prior study matches what they cover.
posted by dowcrag at 6:13 AM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'd venture that doing it online is going to be way easier than trying to do it in the UK.

I figured that was the case, but even if it's not easy, if it is at all possible I definitely want to look into it. I have a GPA of 3.8, glowing recommendations from my former professors, and a couple of published papers under my belt, if that makes a difference.

Suggestions of respected US universities (i.e. NOT the University of Phoenix) with good online-only programs in History would be appreciated, as well.
posted by F.Jasmine Addams at 6:17 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Most universities have a residency requirement stating that the last 30 credit hours (or something or other) need to be done through that university. While you obviously don't have to go to your previous university to complete your degree, you may run into this issue with whatever program you try to get into.

One thing you might try is to contact an academic dean at your old school and see what she or he recommends. The dean could also take a look through your credits and help you get things in order before you transfer to another school; some schools may wish to see things like course descriptions and/or syllabi before giving you credit for meeting breadth requirements.

Good luck!
posted by Madamina at 6:41 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Suggestions of respected US universities (i.e. NOT the University of Phoenix) with good online-only programs in History would be appreciated, as well.

University of Maryland.
posted by lullaby at 7:02 AM on July 21, 2008

If the best option is to transfer your additional credits back to U. of Tennessee, then you will probably need US accredited classes. I would suggest American study abroad programs in London the UK (there are tons of them and many accept students from any University). You might even call the study abroad office at Tennessee to find out about programs in the UK.

If you only need about a year or credit, two semesters of "study abroad" in the UK with programs approved by your home institution should do it.

Also, there is Richmond University in London which is accredited in the US. I believe it is very expensive but it might be worth calling them- maybe they know of some further resources.
posted by cushie at 8:23 AM on July 21, 2008

Sorry to be pedantic, but UMUC is *not* the University of Maryland. It is in the UM system, but they are two different schools. It is an open enrollement college that was designed as a continuing education program for veterans of WWII.
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: if you're settled in the uk, finish your degree there, even if it costs you more money/takes more time than doing it online—the contacts that you'll make with your fellow students as well as your professors might prove to be more useful to you in the long run than your actual diploma, especially if you decide to work in the field or go to grad school. don't underestimate the value of face-to-face networking!
posted by lia at 12:16 PM on July 21, 2008

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