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Three Year Degree

The communication major, with any of the eight concentrations, can be completed in just three years.


These new schedules have the same number of total hours (120), and the same number of major hours (42 or 30), but compress them into three years. The three-year plan requires two summers, with the following distribution of semester hours (fall/spring/summer):

Year One 15/18/9
Year Two 18/18/9
Year Three 18/15/Graduation in May

These new three-year plans are in addition to the existing four-year programs, which will all still be available. And of course, if students enter the program with any Advanced Placement or transfer credit, meeting the three-year calendar becomes even simpler.

The Lamb School's three-year programs have been featured in coverage by the New York Times, NBC News, USA Today and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want to finish in three years?

The primary goal of the three-year plans is to make a Purdue communication degree more affordable. Even with added costs of going to summer school twice, the total cost of the degree would be significantly reduced. In addition, graduates on the three-year plan would enter the workforce and begin their careers a full year earlier.

How much would I save?

This number varies, depending on lots of factors - will you live on or off campus? Will you participate in study abroad? Will you bring Advanced Placement or transfer credit with you when you enter Purdue?

Based on Purdue’s published rates for tuition, fees, room and board, the following numbers illustrate the cost savings of a three-year degree for students entering Purdue in fall 2019. In order to make a fair comparison, these numbers are for students living on campus, with a meal plan; they assume that four-year students won’t take any summer classes (which would increase the cost of a four-year degree), and they don’t account for scholarships, study abroad, or different costs incurred by living off campus. It would also be possible for a three-year student coming in with some Advanced Placement credit to skip a summer, which would reduce three-year costs.

The numbers below are an “apples-to-apples” comparison. 

Four-Year Costs:







Four years of tuition and fees







Four years of room and board







Total costs:








Three-Year Costs:







Three years of tuition and fees







Three years of room and board







Two summers of tuition and fees







Two summers of room and board







Total costs:








Total Cost Savings:







Can I still do study abroad?

Absolutely! The Lamb School participates in several summer study abroad programs, for instance, that offer three hours and allow a student to return in time for six hours of credit on campus (totaling nine). Other summer programs are worth six hours, which could be combined with one distance learning class to total the nine summer hours in the three-year calendar. Alternatively, if a semester abroad only included 12 hours, pushing the two semesters planned for 15 hours to 18 instead would make up the difference. And again, students with Advanced Placement or transfer credit would already have some extra hours built in to make up for a 3-6 hour delay caused by study abroad. And remember, Purdue now offers study abroad grants of $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000, depending on program length.

Is it okay if I still want to finish in four years?

Of course! The Lamb School continues to offer its four-year plans, which allow for more flexible summer plans (jobs? internships? camps? travel?) and even more part-time and extracurricular activities during fall and spring semesters. The three-year plans are also a lot less forgiving if you change your mind - changing your degree objective, even if you began thinking of a three-year schedule, will probably push you toward the more conventional four-year arrangement... and that's okay.

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