The Professional Studies Program

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Support for Adult Learners

The Professional Studies Program consists of two”intensive” Bachelor completion programs:  Human Services and Business.  Human Services and Business have classes on four campuses:  in Belmont, at Mission College in Santa Clara, at Canada College in Redwood City, and in Tracy, California.  The programs are “intensive” (or “accelerated”) because they meet less frequently than a traditional class.  In addition, in 2017 the programs added a weekend hybrid option, which meets in person less frequently.

These programs have been in place since 1989 and our alumni have gone on to graduate programs and to career success in a number of fields.  This page focuses on some of the resources that are available for students who are working adults.  The intent of these links and descriptions is to support the unique and individualized ways that NDNU helps adult students to create a graduation plan that enables success.


Academic Support


Library Resources


Students with Disabilities

Career Services

Student Success Center


Credit for Prior Learning.  NDNU’s evening programs value the experience that adults with work experience bring to the classroom; indeed, our courses are built upon the expectation that students will bring their work experience to the classroom, making learning relevant and helping working professionals to become immediately more effective in the workplace.  NDNU accepts credit for prior learning in a variety of ways; students should work with their academic advisers to determine which best fits their experience and graduation needs.  Possible approaches include:

  •  Examinations that test knowledge obtained in the workplace, in other classrooms, or through life experience.  Some of these can be done through external sources, such a CLEP exams,  and then transferred to NDNU.  CLEP is run through the College Board and testing centers exist in many locations in the vicinity of each of our campuses.
  • Examinations that test knowledge obtained in other settings that match the learning outcomes of particular core or elective courses.  These can be done through your advisor or Program Director, who can help you to identify a course to “challenge.”
  • NDNU is in the process of adopting a “portfolio” system of assessment in which a student creates a portfolio representing the achievement of particular course learning outcomes, which is then evaluated by an external agency and a recommendation made to NDNU as to whether course objectives have been made.

Each of the above options align with our core advising principles:  1) that we will help each student to design a graduation plan that represents the most cost-effective route to an NDNU degree and 2) that within the context of a degree that is cost-effective, each student should be on the fastest route to graduation.  Our programs are designed to achieve those outcomes while meeting rigorous academic criterion designed specifically to be effective for the unique learning needs of adult/nontraditionally aged students.


Most students receive some form of financial aid or tuition remission from an employer.  Everyone is eligible for student loans, regardless of income, and many students also qualify for grants.  See the link above for more information about how to apply.

Two-Plus-Two Programs That Take You Through a Master’s Degree

We have multiple programs that will help you to finish a bachelor’s degree while beginning work on a Master’s degree.  We call these “two plus two” or “two plus three” programs in which you spend the first two years finishing your bachelor’s degree and starting your Master’s, then the second two/three years finishing a Master’s.  Ask your adviser for more information!  These programs are relevant for:

  • An MBA (Master’s in Business Administration – two years)
  • An MPA (Master’s in Public Administration – two years)
  • A graduate degree in Clinical Psychology (three years)

Affordability, Scholarships, and Other Resources

Our evening program is designed to be accessible and affordable.  This is done through a three-part strategy:

  1.  Taking only Upper Division units with NDNU, using your adviser’s knowledge to help you identify community college classes to finish any remaining Lower Division units,
  2. Tuition that is discounted for every evening student.
  3. Utilizing federal grant and loan programs to finance the costs of the above.


  1.  I am a working adult, but I don’t know who to contact with my questions.  Answer:  Either contact Admissions or an evening program director.
  2. Am I eligible for Financial Aid?  Answer:  Yes!
  3. What is an “adult learner?”  Answer:  Generally students who are over 25, with work experience.
  4. How do I choose a major?  Answer:  your Admissions counselor can help.
  5. Will I be the oldest student in class?  Answer:  Unlikely!  We have students of all ages.
  6. What are my next steps?  Contact Admissions or a Program Director.  The best way to make a decision is to apply, submit your unofficial transcripts, review a Transfer Credit Estimate, then look at a graduation plan with your Program Adviser.  There’s no cost to any of the above and it is the best way of making a decision based on tangible, specific information.

We are looking forward to meeting you and helping with your academic and career goals!

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