Students heading to universities in Britain from this September will be able to opt for two-year degree courses for the first time, it was announced Thursday by the Department for Education.

Legislation to introduce the change has been passed in the Houses of Parliament, with politicians supporting the expansion of two-year and other accelerated degrees to give students starting university more choice than ever before.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The passing of this legislation is one of the great modern-day milestones for students and breaks the mould of a one-size-fits all system for people wanting to study in higher education.

“For thousands of future students wanting a faster pace of learning and a faster route into the workplace at a lower overall cost, two-year degrees will transform their choices.”

Students studying shorter university courses, such as three-year courses condensed into two, will save 20 percent on tuition fees compared to traditional courses. Many two-year students will save at least 7,200 U.S. dollars in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course.

Accelerated degrees have been a key part of a government ambition to remove barriers for a number of underrepresented groups, including mature students.

Shorter degree courses will offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, more intensive timespan. 

A two-year accelerated degree will condense 3-year degrees with 30 weeks’ teaching into 2 years with 45 weeks’ teaching.