Momentum for the Master’s

Posted on February 19, 2016

The Accelerated BS to MS degree in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies offers students a fast track to an advanced degree.

Junior Jessica Papier aspires to a corporate career in the retail industry. Although she had considered high-profile schools like Florida Institute of Technology and Savannah College of Art & Design, UNCG’s Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS) program was a “no-brainer” — highly ranked, retail-focused and right in her backyard.

Mother and former business owner Virginia McClean comes from a different perspective, that of a non-traditional student who has chosen not the retail track, like Jessica, but the design major.

Both women have a tremendous advantage: They will earn master’s degrees just one year after completing the undergraduate degree in CARS, thanks to the Accelerated Bachelor of Science to Master’s degree. Quick and easy application process. No GRE. No risk of derailing. With academic momentum on their side, Jessica and Virginia are on a streamlined path to an advanced degree.

A big deal? Just ask anyone who decided to “take a break” between degrees. They don’t always return. Life gets in the way. CARS’ accelerated degree eliminates that risk.

Value added. Costs subtracted.

The program offers a number of other advantages as well. Taking master’s level classes while earning an undergraduate degree equates to significant savings.

“I think I am saving at least $10,000 by being in the accelerated program,” Jessica says. “That’s huge.”

Then there is the matter of competing successfully for the jobs that they want. “The master’s degree is the new undergrad,” says Jessica. “Retail and business is so competitive. Every leg up helps. Being able to get my master’s in one year as opposed to two will allow me to go full force into my career. That’s attractive not only to me, but to my future employer.”

Earning two degrees essentially at once demonstrates work ethic and motivation. “It’s not just written on my resume that I am hardworking and driven,” Jessica says. “I’m proving it by earning my master’s degree at the age of twenty.”

Virginia will use her dual degree to another end. She has her eyes set on additional advanced degrees: a second master’s in design to complement her master’s in retail — as well as a PhD in design.

“My grand plan is to become a professor,” she says. “The online part of the CARS master’s degree gives me the flexibility to work around my other obligations. That in turn gives me the endurance to pursue additional degrees.”

Face-to-face. Online. All Access.

Jessica is quick to note that even though the master’s level classes are online, she knows she can meet with her professors at anytime. They’re as accessible and supportive as they are in face-to-face classes.

Recently, Jessica was one of just 20 students in the nation invited to the Retail BIG Show in New York City, the biggest retail industry meeting in the world — a feat made possible by faculty in the department who took the time to nominate her for the prestigious National Retail Federation Next Generation Scholarship.

Virginia also was recognized for her work with a Student Excellence Award nomination. She credits the CARS program for pushing her to excel.

“Our department has a special chemistry when it comes to the faculty and staff,” Virginia says. “This experience has been perfect.”

Focus on retail, design — or a combination.

The accelerated program offers yet another considerable selling point: a blend of both specialization and broad exposure. For example, Virginia’s undergraduate degree will be in design, but her master’s will be in retail. Likewise, while both of Jessica’s degrees will be in retail, she’s getting exposure to design concepts through her classes.

“When you’re trying to secure a job, the more things you know how to do, the better off you are,” Virginia points out.

In other words, more equals more. Unless you’re talking about the time it takes to earn a master’s degree in CARS. Then, less is absolutely more. Much more.

To find out more information about the Accelerated Degree Program, and whether you qualify, please contact Dr. Kittichai “Tu” Watchravesringkan, Director of Graduate Studies at

By Andrea Crossley Spencer








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