Frequently Asked Questions about the DIY Degree

Does The Do-It-Yourself-Degree work outside of the United States?

If you live in Canada, the answer is generally “yes.” If you live in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or South America, the answer is “it depends.” Some regions have the required test centers available for you and others do not. If you are interested, email me at jay@doityourselfdegree.com and I will investigate for you.

Also, to be clear, the DIY Degree process leads to an American degree. My understanding is that American degrees are valued worldwide, but I strongly recommend checking with your employer, desired graduate school, or other institutions of interest first to confirm an American degree will be acceptable in your situation.

What majors can I obtain with a Do-It-Yourself Degree?

The DIY Degree process is best suited for business degrees, as there are exams for almost every business course and you can earn essentially the entire degree via testing.

You can partially test out of other majors, however. If you want a liberal arts degree (psychology, sociology, criminal justice, etc.) or a technology degree you can test out of anywhere from 60%-80% of the requirements, and take online or local courses for subjects that lack exam options.

Some majors are not well-suited for the DIY Degree. These include subjects requiring lots of hands-on instruction and/or lab time, including: engineering, biology, music, architecture, etc.

No matter which degree you want, you can test out of the “general education” requirements (ie, the first two years of classes that all majors require.) This alone produces a savings of anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 or more.

I provide a “working list” of Majors that can currently be obtained using the Do-It-Yourself Degree in the member’s area. “Working list” meaning that it is constantly evolving based on my research and perceived value to students.

I have previous credits from college. Can these credits be applied to my Do-It-Yourself Degree?

In general, yes. As long as your credits are from a regionally accredited two-year or four-year institution they should be applicable toward your DIY Degree plan. The school you enroll at will make the ultimate determination.

Can I use The Do-It-Yourself Degree to finish/accelerate my traditional (brick and mortar) college degree?

Yes! Although I encourage students to enroll at distance learning schools like Excelsior College (because they allow unlimited transfer credit and rapid degree completion) I understand not every student wants to leave the college they currently attend. In that case, your school likely allows a certain amount of credit-by-examination (typically 30-60 credits worth) which enables you to graduate faster for less.

This is a way to get the best of both worlds: the “brand name” of the college you prefer and vastly reduced cost/graduation time.

I am currently building a searchable database of every U.S. college’s transfer/exam credit policy. In the meantime, feel free to contact me here if you cannot find your school’s policy.

Can the Do-It-Yourself Degree approach be used for post-bachelor (i.e. PhD, Masters) programs?

There is an MBA program that allows partial test-out: five courses worth. Otherwise, the answer is generally no. DIY Degree is more suited to undergraduate (bachelor’s and associate’s) degrees.

Do employers take The Do-It-Yourself Degree as seriously as a state or private college?

Yes, because you are graduating from a regionally accredited college just as you would by attending the local school in your hometown. These are normal degrees earned in a faster/less expensive way. I earned my own degree the same way I teach other students to earn theirs and it has been completely accepted every step of the way.

In fact, I actually position it as a selling point. Designing your own degree plan and passing anywhere from 20-40 challenging tests with no outside help says something about your work ethic by strongly suggesting you are someone who finishes what they start.

Can I obtain a second degree if I already have a bachelor’s degree from another college?

Yes, depending on your desired major. See the previous FAQ about majors obtainable via DIY Degree.

Can I do The Do-It-Yourself Degree part time if my schedule doesn’t allow me to pursue it full time?

Yes. It is a completely self-paced process that you can speed up or slow down at will.

What’s the difference between The Do-It-Yourself Degree and attending a local community college?

The DIY Degree is about taking subject exams to earn credits you would otherwise have to attend classes for. At a community college, you will have a typical student’s schedule: two to four classes per semester until you earn an associate’s degree or decide to transfer to a four-year institution. These classes will be taken primarily at the campus.

With DIY Degree, you create an exam schedule, study for your exams independently, and visit a local testing center when you are ready to take one. With proper study time, you can take/pass a new exam every 2-3 weeks.

An associate’s degree takes roughly two years to complete at a community college. A motivated, independent learner could use the DIY Degree to graduate in six months.

Can I apply and obtain Federal or State College Loans/Grants while pursuing a Do-It-Yourself Degree?

Yes. You will be enrolled at a regionally accredited institution and thus be eligible for federal and/or state assistance based on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application.

Do I have to buy books (many costing $100 or more a piece) to complete a Do-It-Yourself Degree?

Generally, no. There are free/low-cost online study resources available for most exams. You can also study with older textbooks that are far less costly (unlike attending a traditional class, where the professor forces you to buy the latest/most expensive edition every year.)