Academic Policy  1621.10

Academic Program Terms and Definitions

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
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 B.A. degree. Upon completion of all major requirements of the additional discipline, the additional major will be recorded on the student’s transcript; however, a B.A. degree is not awarded. This is also an option in French, German, and Spanish for any non-arts and sciences students.

Advanced Certificate

(Non-degree) The Advanced Certificate is a planned program of study in a specialty area. The curriculum must require demonstrated mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in a specific area or discipline. The range of hours is 21-45 undergraduate semester credit hours.  The Advanced Certificate will print on the transcript.

Area Studies

Area studies are defined as an 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, Latin American and Latino studies, and Middle East studies.

Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree will be awarded to students upon successful completion of a program that requires a minimum of 120 undergraduate semester credit hours, including the 35-semester hour state minimum general education core, a minimum of 40 semester hours of upper-level courses, and a minimum of 30 semester hours (including 20 semester hours of upper-level courses) in the major field of study. The curriculum must require a demonstration of competency in communications (oral and written) and mathematics, and a mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in a specific area or discipline. The range of the bachelor’s degree is 120-130 semester hours. Selected programs (e.g., education, music, engineering) may exceed 130 semester hours, but cannot exceed 150 semester hours unless particular course content is required by accrediting or approval agencies.

Certification/Licensure Requirements

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

Combined Major

A combined major is 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 English and journalism.

Concentration

A concentration is a subset 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. Examples are the Doctor of Philosophy degree with physics as the field of study and a concentration in neuroscience or a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in music and a concentration in jazz studies. Concentrations will print on the transcript.

The new concentration must consist of a minimum of 9 semester credit hours.  Adding a concentration is the addition of a specialized course of study as a component of an approved degree program if the number of new theory courses added to the curriculum does not exceed 21 semester credit hours (excluding a maximum of 6 semester credit hours of new clinical, practicum or internship courses).

Core, Required, and Elective Course(s)

Core is a set of required coursework specified for students at the college/school, department, or program/area level. Core is what is required for all students at that level or in that program. Hours will vary depending upon the major.  Core and major requirements are usually stated in terms of specific courses or 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 upper-level 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.

Degree Program

The degree program of study is defined by sets of academic requirements that lead to a degree that 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 (with a minimum of 42 hours beyond the master’s and 72 hours beyond the bachelor’s).

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree will be awarded to students who complete a minimum of 72 graduate semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. The program of study includes 42 graduate-only semester hours beyond the master’s degree. The curriculum must require demonstrated mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in a specific area or discipline. Program requirements must balance credit hours for required coursework, research, and dissertation preparation.

Double Degree Program

A double degree program of study 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.

Double Major

A double major is 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.

Dual Degree 

A dual degree is a partnership between degree programs where a set number of credit hours may be shared between each degree program and the degrees are pursued simultaneously, though each degree will be awarded when the requirements for each individual degree are completed. A dual degree generally applies to graduate programs. For example, the JD/MBA program or the JD/MPA.

 

Field/Program of Study

The field of study is 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 72 hours is typical. For example, a Master of Arts degree in history, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in teacher education, an Education Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction, a Doctor of Education degree in higher education, Doctor of Philosophy degree in business administration.

Focused Studies

A set of courses that a student may elect to take as part of the major requirements that provides focus in a particular area related to the major is considered a focused study. 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.

Graduate Certificate

(Non-degree) The Graduate Certificate is a 12-21 semester hour program that includes a focused collection of courses which when completed affords the student a record of coherent academic accomplishment in a given discipline or set of related disciplines. Graduate Certificates will print on the transcript.

Graduate MicroCertificate

(Non-degree) The Graduate MicroCertificate programs consist of six to nine hours of required course work in a specialized area. Students must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the MicroCertificate program. The Graduate School does not impose a limit on the number of hours that may be shared between MicroCertificate programs and graduate certificate or degree programs, but a limit may be set by the program. Students who enter a MicroCertificate program must complete all requirements within six years of admission to the program. For students who have been admitted to both a graduate degree program and a MicroCertificate program, courses taken to meet the requirements of one may also be used to meet the requirements of the other, at the discretion of the program and the student’s Advisory Committee. Coursework may not be transferred from another university to meet the requirements of a MicroCertificate and retroactive graduate credit is not allowed for a MicroCertificate. MicroCertificates must meet, at a minimum, the grade point average requirements of the Graduate School although programs may have higher standards.  Graduate MicroCertificates will print on the transcript.

Major

The major is 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.

Master’s Degree

The master’s degree will be awarded to students who complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree that includes 50 percent graduate-only semester hours in the field of study. The curriculum must require demonstrated mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in a specific area or discipline.

Minor

An academic minor is an optional, secondary program of study offered by a department or interdisciplinary program for degree seeking students.  Academic minors are designed to provide a degree of content mastery and/or essential skills in an area of academic specialization that will complement the student’s academic major.  Minors must be pursued in conjunction with an approved degree program, a minor may not be completed by itself.  All undergraduate minors shall consist of a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 24 semester hours, of which a minimum of 6 semester hours must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.  Academic minors should have a foundational component, which covers the required body of knowledge and/or essential skills and a breadth component that allows for some specialization.  If prerequisite courses are required to pursue the course work within an academic minor, the total required coursework, including pre-requisites, should not exceed 33 credit hours.  Coursework required for a minor cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis and students must achieve a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 for all coursework in the minor to be awarded the minor.   Courses in the minor may overlap with the major or other minors, but there must be at least 6 semester hours of coursework that is unique between minors.   Minors are awarded at the same time the bachelor’s degree is awarded.  Minors are initiated and administered by a home unit; the unit that provides the majority of the required coursework needed to complete the minor or an administrative unit designated by the college(s) to administer the minor.  However, all units outside of the home unit’s college that provide required or elective coursework within the minor will be included in the approval process for changes to existing minors or requesting of new minors.  Acceptance into the minor and approval of any exceptions to the stated requirements of the minor will be approved by the home unit.

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 U of A or at another institution.

Second/Dependent Major

A dependent major is 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, Middle East studies, and Latin American and Latino 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 Middle East studies. The second major is always listed second on the transcript.

Specialist Degree

The specialist degree will be awarded to students who complete a minimum of 30 graduate-only semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree. The curriculum must require demonstrated mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in a specific area or discipline. The degree does not meet the academic requirements of a doctoral degree.

Track

A track is a sub-division of a concentration which a student must select and fulfill to complete the requirements of the concentration. Examples are the portfolio and thesis tracks within the specialist concentration in the Master of Arts in English degree. Tracks will print on the transcript.

Undergraduate MicroCertificate

(Non-Degree) The Undergraduate-level MicroCertificate programs consist of nine to 15 hours of required course work in a specialized area. The awarding of the MicroCertificate will be shown on the student’s transcript. Students must meet the admissions and graduation requirements of the University of Arkansas. Credits earned toward the MicroCertificate may also be used to fulfill the requirements of an undergraduate degree. Transfer work from another university will not be allowed to meet the requirements of a MicroCertificate.  Undergraduate MicroCertificates will print on the transcript.

 

Updated
11/23/2021
01/13/2020
Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014
12/04/2013
08/17/1998
4/1/98