Are Excelsior Degrees Recognized in Grad School?

The short answer is yes, degrees from Excelsior College are recognized in graduate school. Excelsior degrees are regionally accredited and are therefore just as valid as any other accredited degrees when applying for grad school. Excelsior is a non-profit distance learning institution that seeks to remove as many of the common challenges faced by adult learners as possible. The college’s mission statement puts an emphasis on providing educational opportunities to those who have been “historically underrepresented in higher education” and is dedicated to offering high quality education and assessment to students no matter their current academic standing or geographic location.

The college was founded by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1971 and was originally called the Regents External Degree Program, though there have been several significant changes since then. It became a private college in 2001 and was renamed Excelsior College. It currently enrolls over 36,000 students and is accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the MSA, and the following are just some of the benefits of attending Excelsior.

Degree Programs

Excelsior College offers a wide variety of degree programs across six major areas of study: business, health sciences, liberal arts, nursing, public service, and technology. Degrees include associate degrees as well as BA and BS degrees, and Excelsior even offers its own graduate degree programs for certain master’s degrees. There are over 40 total programs, all of which can be completed online at a student’s own pace.


Excelsior is uniquely flexible when it comes to accepting course credits and transfers from other schools. The college accepts transfer credits from any other regionally accredited school, and it will even take credits that are over ten years old for certain degree programs. It’s never too late to pursue further education, and Excelsior seeks to help students who completed a partial education to return and accomplish their goals.

The college also offers opportunities to earn college credits upon passing exams through Excelsior College Examinations. These exams can allow students to skip courses containing concepts they’ve already mastered, and credits earned from the exams are accepted by over 2,500 other colleges.


Excelsior College understands the importance of transparency and helping students make informed decisions about their investments and how they pursue their education. To that end, they founded The Presidents Forum, a collaboration of regionally accredited distance learning institutions dedicated to serving adult learners. The forum members have launched the project, Transparency by Design, and Excelsior uses the data collected to provide students with information about the costs of their programs, statistics about the student body and study areas, as well as information regarding student satisfaction.

The Perks of Distance Learning

Distance learning provides a great deal of potential benefits to adult learners, not least of which is the comfort of being able to pursue a degree from home. Distance learning also allows students to control the pace of their learning more than they would in a traditional setting. Students are able to move quickly through material they’re familiar with, and they can spend the extra time they need to learn more difficult concepts. Most courses are offered six times a year in varying lengths, so students can choose the options that make sense for them.

Course discussion boards and video lectures can also let students interact with instructors without being constrained by traditional class times, which is important for students who work full-time or have other responsibilities. These conveniences make it possible for military students to continue their education, even on deployment. Excelsior is serious about being as accommodating as possible for all students and provides courses for most degree levels. For students wishing to pursue even more advanced degrees, they can rest assured that Excelsior degrees will be recognized by graduate schools.

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