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Panos Artemiadis, associate professor and director of graduate programs for mechanical engineering, and Fabrizio Sergi, associate professor of biomedical engineering, work with a robotic exoskeleton as part of robot-assisted physical therapy for post-stroke rehabilitation.
Panos Artemiadis, associate professor and director of graduate programs for mechanical engineering, and Fabrizio Sergi, associate professor of biomedical engineering, work with a robotic exoskeleton as part of robot-assisted physical therapy for post-stroke rehabilitation.

Two degrees in less time

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson and Evan Krape and courtesy of Chelsea Cohen

UD students share the benefits of their 4+1 experiences

The math is simple: Earning an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in just five years instead of six saves students time and financial resources. 

The University of Delaware offers 40 of these accelerated degree pathways, also known as 4+1 programs, including 15 that are being added in fall 2024. Students interested in enrolling in a 4+1 program are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors.

“The 4+1 programs provide a wonderful opportunity for students to obtain the advanced credentials they need to be successful in their future careers,” said Louis Rossi, dean of the Graduate College and vice provost for graduate and professional education. “By expanding our 4+1 programs and infusing the curriculum with advanced and specialized knowledge and unique experiences, we solidify our commitment to supporting students at every stage of their UD journey. Students who hold these degrees will find they have access to a broader range of career opportunities in industry and the public sectors.”

Having a master’s degree is a significant benefit for many job seekers. Graduate coursework provides students with hands-on experience in applying the knowledge they gained in their undergraduate courses. 

Noah Stiebritz graduated this spring with a master’s of science in robotics after earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering last year. While applying for roles that meet his career aspirations, he has found that many positions require a master’s degree.

Noah Stiebritz, a robotics 4+1 graduate, gained experience with accurately manipulating robotic models while in graduate school.
Noah Stiebritz, a robotics 4+1 graduate, gained experience with accurately manipulating robotic models while in graduate school.

Stiebritz hopes to create robotic prosthetics or robotic equipment used during surgical procedures. He gained experience with accurately manipulating robotic models while in graduate school. 

“The introduction to robotics class focuses on modeling the motions, joints and applied force of a robot,” Stiebritz said. “The final project focused on the mathematical calculations — some learned in undergraduate courses — for the trajectory of a robotic arm. We had to place an object in a specific position with less than a millimeter difference in each direction.” 

Putting to use abstract concepts learned at the undergraduate level has also been a highlight for Leah Marsh, a 4+1 student who earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and graduated this spring with a master’s of science in fashion in apparel studies.

Fashion and merchandising students inspect samples of handmade jewelry from the Masai women of Kenya, for whom students will help develop marketing plans for their businesses.
Fashion and merchandising students inspect samples of handmade jewelry from the Masai women of Kenya, for whom students will help develop marketing plans for their businesses.

She described her experience as a productive and purposeful way to spend the year between finishing undergrad and starting her career. Marsh shared encouraging words for interested students: “It’s all the things that you’ve already learned,” she said. “Don’t be afraid.” 

Marsh added that continuing her education allowed her a chance to make more informed decisions about her future. It gave her the courage to slow down, use her time wisely and network. 

Last summer she had an internship at a nonprofit organization that focuses on supply chain transparency and garment worker’s rights. Marsh was offered a role with the company and will start shortly after graduation.

Chelsea Cohen, an urban affairs and public policy graduate student, credits her 4+1 program with enhancing her UD experience.

For some students, 4+1 programs create community and enhance their college experience.

Chelsea Cohen, a senior majoring in urban affairs and public policy, enrolled at UD as a first-year student with 30 college credits. After learning about the 4+1 program at the start of her junior year, she knew it would be the perfect opportunity to further her education at UD while enhancing her college experience.

Cohen has begun taking graduate courses and believes that they will amplify her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion, and its role in public policy.

“I also enjoy being in a cohort of 4+1 students. Being able to enroll in the same classes and share this experience with others has been helpful,” Cohen said.

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