News & Media

Peirce College Introduces Faster, Cheaper Path to Degree Completion


Peirce College Introduces Faster, Cheaper Path to Degree Completion

Competency-based education program focuses on demonstrated knowledge, not seat time, to determine proficiency

PHILADELPHIA, May 10, 2016 -- It’s a new day for IT education in Philadelphia. This fall, Peirce College will launch the most streamlined bachelor’s degree program in Information Technology in the region. By introducing an IT degree in the competency-based education (CBE) format, Peirce will significantly reduce the time to completion and cost for adult learners.

CBE is a fully online, self-paced, personalized way to learn, that uses the knowledge students already have to place them on the most direct path to completing their degree. Rather than basing credits on number of hours spent in a classroom, CBE awards college credit based on a student’s mastery of sets of skills, or “competencies,” that align with a degree program and, ultimately, the job they want.

“All of the competencies for which we are testing are directly related to skills that would impress an employer,” said Dr. Brian Finnegan, assistant dean for Information Technology and General Education. “If it will not help you land a job, it is not a part of  our program."

Peirce worked directly with employers to determine the competencies for the program, ensuring they match those desired by today’s hiring managers and are aligned with the current demands of the marketplace. 

The Peirce CBE program is ideal for working adults because it eliminates the need for in-class attendance. Over the course of a term, students can make progress toward their competencies at their own speed, wherever and whenever it works for them. After applying credit for prior college courses and industry certifications that are aligned with the curriculum, students can immediately complete the assessments that are compatible with their previous experience and then focus solely on the areas they still need to learn, eliminating the need to relearn skills they have already mastered.

“Peirce’s CBE program focuses on what matters the most to adult learners and their employers – gaining the actual skills and knowledge to do their job better or advance in their careers,” said Vice President, Academic Advancement Rita Toliver-Roberts, Ed.D. “And because you can streamline your education, put what you already know to good use and complete courses at your own pace, competency-based education is the most affordable way to complete your degree.”

Students pay a fixed price per term,  and there is no limit to how many credits they can earn. All students are assigned a dedicated CBE Coach who will ensure they develop a reasonable plan of action. Graduates earn the same accredited degree as if they utilized Peirce's other delivery platforms.

The College’s first CBE program will be a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security. The College will expand the CBE model to additional program areas over the next few years. 

Peirce’s entry into CBE comes at the same time as its curriculum-wide roll-out of PeirceFit™, a delivery model that allows students in accelerated courses to choose from week-to-week whether to attend class in-person or online. Peirce Fit enables students to more easily balance the demands of work, school and home, without falling behind as the result of a missed class.

“We want to ensure that working adults who choose Peirce have the greatest chance for success,” said Toliver-Roberts. “Through innovative initiatives like CBE and Peirce Fit, we have once again proven our ability to adapt to the needs of the modern adult learner. The quicker our students complete their degrees, the quicker they are able to use their newly realized knowledge to meet the demands of the Philadelphia-area workforce.”

About Peirce College
In 2015, Peirce College celebrates 150 years dedicated to providing higher education to working adults. In celebration of this momentous occasion, Peirce will host a year-long series of events surrounding the theme, "Many Years, One Purpose." Peirce College offers bachelor's and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and Legal Studies and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in thee hart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults, many of whom work full time and are raising families. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104 (phone: 267-284-5000). Additionally select programs are accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs the American Bar Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

For more information about Peirce College, call 888.467.3472 or visit

Visit Peirce’s blog, Peirce Connections, at Become a fan of Peirce College on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @PeirceCollege. View the Peirce College YouTube Channel.