WEST LAFAYETTE - The Higher Learning Commission has given final approval to Purdue Polytechnic Institute's competency-based education program. The approval of Purdue's Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology degree makes it the first baccalaureate program of its kind in the country.

The program is Purdue's first competency-based degree. The university says competency-based education gives students direct measurable learning objectives and its program "allows students to develop skills in an individualized program of study based on their interests."

"This degree creates a study plan around the student rather than an academic schedule," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. "Students take work at their own pace through the program and, in the end, come away with a proven skill set that is meaningful to employers in today’s business world."

Competency-based education requires a student to demonstrate expertise in eight broadly-defined competencies in order to graduate. They include design thinking, effective communication, social interaction on a team, ethical reasoning, and innovation and creativity, among others.

Purdue says it began work on the program in 2013 and a pilot program launched a year later. The Purdue Board of Trustees voted in favor of the program in April 2015 and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved it later in the year.

The approval from the Higher Learning Commission provided final accreditation. Click here for more information on the program.