Academic Policy  1621.10

Academic Program Terms and Definitions

The original PDF version of this policy is linked from the revised date below.

The following are terms and their definitions for program components used in the program inventory, catalogs, and other publications and assigned to a student’s record to reflect requirements for the program of study. Catalog descriptions of degree programs, majors, and minors should be specific regarding all core, course, hour, and other academic requirements. Any term used in the statement of program requirements should be defined unless it is part of the catalog and program inventory.

TERM DEFINITION
Degree Program

The program of study defined by sets of academic requirements that lead to a degree which the university is authorized to offer. Undergraduate degree requirements are typically stated in terms of numbers of credit hours and specific courses at university, college/school, and discipline levels. Graduate degree requirements are typically stated in terms of numbers of credit hours and specific courses at discipline levels. Examples are a bachelor of science degree program (typically with a minimum of 120 hours), a master of arts degree program (typically with a minimum of 30 hours), a doctor of philosophy degree program (typically with a minimum of 60 hours although hours vary).

Double Degree Program

A program of study which includes one set of university requirements and two sets of college or school and primary discipline-specific requirements and leads to two different bachelor’s degrees with two different majors. Such a program could, for example, lead to a bachelor of science degree with a major in chemistry and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering degree. Such programs are comparatively rare, and hours required to complete them vary, depending upon overlap in requirements.

Field of Study

The primary discipline-specific (or multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary) set of requirements in a graduate program of study. The field of study typically consists of a minimum of 30 hours at the master’s degree level, of 30 hours beyond the master’s degree at the educational specialist level, and of 96 hours for the doctor of education degree. Field of study hour requirements vary more widely for the doctor of philosophy degree, but 60 hours is typical. For example, a master of arts degree in history, a master of arts in teaching degree in special education, a education specialist degree in adult education, a doctor of education degree in higher education, doctor of philosophy degree in entomology.

Major

The primary discipline-specific (or multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary) set of requirements in an undergraduate program of study. The major typically consists of a minimum of 30 hours and identifies by name a specific degree area. For example, a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English, a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.

Double Major*

The two complete sets of primary discipline-specific requirements (typically consisting of a minimum of 30 hours each) constituting the two majors within a program of study leading to one bachelor’s degree with two complete majors. For example, a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in Spanish and French.

Combined Major*

A combination of subsets of two primary discipline specific requirements (each of which is typically 15 to 24 hours and less than the number required for a major) which together constitute the major in a program of study leading to one bachelor’s degree with a combined major in two disciplines. For example, a bachelor of arts degree with a combined major in anthropology and sociology.

Second Major*

A second complete set of primary discipline-specific requirements in a discipline in which only a second or dependent major may be earned. A second major must be earned in a degree program in which the first major is one authorized to be given independently. Typically a minimum of 30 hours is earned in each major area or discipline. Examples of second major areas are African and African American Studies, European Studies, and Latin American a nd La t ino Studies. An example of a degree with a second major is a bachelor of arts degree with a major in political science and a second major in European Studies. The second major is always listed second.

Area Studies

Interdisciplinary study of geographical or cultural areas. Topics include the history, geography, politics, culture, language, and literature of the area. Generally, an area study is a minor or a second major. Examples of area studies include African and African American Studies, European Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Middle East Studies.

Additional Major*

Students fulfilling all requirements for the B.S., B.S.W., B.F.A. and B.M. degrees, including all core requirements and at least one major in these degree programs, may also claim an additional major in a humanistic discipline, social science, or interdisciplinary program associated with a BA degree. Upon completion of all major requirements of the additional discipline, the additional major will be made part of the student’s transcript; however, a B.A. degree is not awarded. This is also an option in German for any non-arts and science students.

Concentration

A sub-set of requirements within the discipline-specific (field of study or major) requirements in a program of study leading to a graduate or bachelor’s degree. [Formerly termed option, specialization, area, emphasis, track,, etc.] Examples are the doctor of philosophy degree with English as the field of study and a concentration in criticism or a bachelor of human environmental science degree with a major in food, human nutrition, and hospitality and a concentration in dietetics. Concentrations must be approved by ADHE and will print on the transcript.

Track

A sub-division of a concentration or certificate which a student must select and fulfill to complete the requirements of the concentration or certificate. Examples are the primary and secondary studio tracks required for a BA degree in Art with a Concentration in Studio Art. Tracks will print on the transcript.

Minor

The lesser set of discipline-specific (or multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary) requirements in an undergraduate program of study. The minor typically consists of a minimum of 15 hours or more in a designated discipline.

Focused Studies

A set of courses that a student may elect to take as part of the major requirements which provides focus in a particular area related to the major. Completing a focused study is not required for the major, but serves as a guide for students who want to further specialize their studies. Focused studies do not need ADHE approval and do not appear on the transcript.

Core, Required, and Elective Course(s)

A core (body) of required coursework may be specified for students at the university, college/school, department, or program/area level. For example, the University Core is the set of courses required for all students for compliance with the state-mandated minimum core and consists of courses approved by both campus faculty and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A core is what is required for all students at that level or in that program.

Core and major requirements are usually stated either in terms of specific required courses or of lists of courses from which any course chosen will meet the requirement. The “list” may actually be a defined set such as lower level courses or upperlevel courses; courses in the department, in the program, or in the college; or courses identified by one or more course, program, or department codes. Elective courses may involve a greater or lesser degree of student choice. A general elective course could be one that is needed to complete the number of hours required for the degree when no other requirements remain to be met. A free elective course may be one that is not needed to complete either course requirements or hour requirements.

Pre-Professional Requirements

The set of course, hour, and other academic requirements that must be completed before entry into a school, a program of study, or an advanced level of a program of study, either at the UA or at another institution.

Certification Requirements

The set of course, hour, and other academic requirements which must be completed to receive certification such as certification to teach in the public schools.

* Note: In establishing the official count of degrees awarded by the UA, ADHE will count only one degree (major) for each student who completes a degree with double, combined, or second majors. UA staff may note in which major the degree will be counted. Only if the student completes two different degree programs will two degrees be counted.

Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014
12/4/13
8/17/98
4/1/98