9.2      PROGRAM LENGTH [CR]

The institution offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level. The institution provides an explanation of equivalencies when using units other than semester credit hours.  The institution provides an appropriate justification for all degree programs and combined degree programs that include fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit.

           

JUDGEMENT

 

††† Compliance     Non-Compliance     Partial Compliance

 

NARRATIVE

 

North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University is ranked by the Carnegie Classification system as a doctoral university, high research activity (R2). The university offers 56 undergraduate degree programs, 30 masterís degree programs, and 10 doctoral (PhD) degree programs as shown on p. 5 of the Institutional Summary Form Prepared for SACSCOC Reviews.  There are also three stand-alone certificate programs, none of which is currently active. 

 

Academic programs are offered through the Colleges of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Health and Human Sciences; Science and Technology; and The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.  The Graduate College is an administrative unit for graduate education, but it offers no degree programs. 

 

Each undergraduate program at the university offers at least 120 student credit hours, each graduate degree offers at least 30 student credit hours.  The requirements for each undergraduate degree is outlined in the Minimum Requirements for a Baccalaureate Degree policy and in the Undergraduate Bulletin (p. 9).  Similar requirements for the graduate degrees are outlined in the Graduate Courses, Credits and Curriculum and in the Graduate Bulletin (p. 46)

 

Program and Curricula Development.  Program and curricula design are directed by faculty within their respective disciplines. The process for developing new academic programs is outlined in the UNC Policy Manual (400.1.1) and requires multiple levels of evaluation to ensure capacity to deliver student and societal demand, adequate funding, and alignment with institutional mission.

 

New program can be recommended by a faculty member or group of faculty, and the faculty have primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum. New programs must align with the universityís mission and goals. Prior to formal planning, faculty submit recommendations for new programs to the Dean of the respective College. Deans discuss new programs and modifications with the Provost, and receive pre-approval before initiating formal requests for approval through the Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

 

New degree programs must be evaluated and approved by the UNC Board of Governors, and the Regulations for Academic Program Planning and Evaluation (UNC Policy 400.1.1[R]) outlines processes for program development at the baccalaureate, masterís, and doctoral level. Constituent institutions first submit the Request to Plan to the System office, which describes the purpose of the program, presents student and societal demand, provides an analysis of competitive programs to prevent unnecessary duplication, and estimates enrollment and resource requirements. Once the plan is approved, the institution is invited to submit the Request to Establish, which provides details regarding program requirements and curriculum, faculty, delivery considerations, library, facilities and equipment, administration, accreditation and licensure, budget, and evaluation plans. The Board of Governors of the UNC System, through it Education Planning Committee, does final review and votes for approval.  If approved, the program next goes to SACSCOC for approval of its prospectus.

 

Curricula designed for new degree programs or substantial changes to existing programs must be evaluated at multiple campus levels prior to approval. Departmental curricula committees provide the first level of review, then college committees, and then the university-level New Programs and Curricula Committee. This committee then brings all curricula development to the Faculty Senate for full-body review and approvals prior to submission to the Provostís office.  The Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, signs all curricululm approval, on behalf of the university, before the new curricula can be implemented.  

 

Undergraduate Programs.  Undergraduate degree requirements are faculty designed and are published in the Undergraduate Bulletin. With the exception of one program (the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing), all baccalaureate degree programs at N.C. A&T are at least 120 credit hours but cannot be more than 128 credit hours without special approval from the UNC Board of Governors.   

 

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) is a 64-credit hour curriculum, which can be completed in 12 months of full-time study using the block format (Undergraduate Bulletin, pg. 335-337). The program is designed for students who already have a bachelorís degree in another discipline, and there are clear application guidelines to ensure that students meet the extensive admission prerequisites. The course prerequisite checklist, at the bottom of the page, identifies ten courses that applicants must have already completed, prior to program entry. In addition, applicants must provide a copy of listing in the NC Nurse Aide I Registry with the NC Board of Nursing or a written plan for completion, as well as provide an original copy of TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills in nursing) test results.

 

Graduate Programs: N.C. A&T offers 31 masterís degree programs, and 10 doctoral (PhD) degree programs. The Graduate Catalog, p. 46, identifies the minimum credit hours required for masterís and doctoral degree programs. Masters programs require at least 30 credit hours beyond the bachelorís. Doctoral programs require 60 credit hours beyond the bachelorís degree. Individual programs may require a higher number of credit hours to fulfill disciplinary accreditation requirements.  A review of all published degree requirements in the Graduate Catalog shows that all masterís and doctoral programs conform to minimum requirements.

 

Combination or Dual Degree Programs/Double Majoring.  Undergraduate students who enroll in two degree programs concurrently, must meet all the requirements of each degree program.  The Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 42 notes that students who are pursuing a double major must meet the requirements of both majors. At least 25 credit hours must be unique to each program. The University Registrar verifies that all graduation requirements are met before clearing a student to receive the degree.

 

The Graduate Catalog, pages 47-48, notes that graduate students enrolled as double majors may earn two degrees at N.C. A&T by enrolling concurrently in two separate but related programs of study, both at the masterís level. Double degree programs must balance structural efficiency with individual program integrity. At least 18 credit hours must be unique to each program, and students must comply with requirements of both degree programs as stated in the Graduate Double Majors, Dual Degrees and Joint Degree Programs policy, Graduate Catalog, p. 46. Students must also be accepted by both programs, ideally before officially beginning the double degree program; students should be accepted to the second degree program no later than the end of the second semester in the first degree program.

 

Joint degree programs are those from which a single degree is awarded by two or more institutions participating in a joint degree program. This type of degree program must be approved by each participating institution, the UNC Board of Governors and SACSCOC (Graduate Catalog, pg. 47). As an example, students can pursue a Joint Master of Social Work (JMSW) and/or a Joint Doctor of Philosophy (JPhD) through N.C. A&T and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Students and faculty teach and study at each campus and have access to the full range of instructional and research support services available at both universities.

 

Alternative Methods of Awarding Credit.  Students may be awarded credit by examination for any undergraduate course for which a suitable examination has been adopted or prepared by the department recommending the credit. The student receives the grade ďCEĒ and regular credit for the number of hours involved. However, the credit hours are excluded in computing the studentís grade point average (Undergraduate Bulletin, pgs. 42-43). In addition, credit may be granted for the successful completion of standardized tests under the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), as approved for specific equivalent courses by academic departments. There is no maximum amount of credit that a student may earn, but a student must complete a minimum of three semesters as a full-time student in residence at the university. These credits are treated as transfer credits. Subject examination guidelines for CLEP credit are included in the Undergraduate Bulletin (Undergraduate Bulletin, pg. 41).

 

N.C.A&T also participates in the Advanced Placement Program (AP), offered by the College Board. Students must submit to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions an official Student Score Report from the College Board for scores to be considered. N.C. A&T awards college credit for qualifying AP examination scores as determined by the Director of Transfer Articulation, in consultation with the chairperson of the appropriate academic department. Guidelines for AP credit are included in the Undergraduate Bulletin (pg. 40).

 

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

1.      P. 5 of the Institutional Summary Form Prepared for SACSCOC Reviews

2.      Minimum Requirements for a Baccalaureate Degree Policy

3.      Undergraduate Bulletin

a.      P. 9

b.      P. 40

c.       P. 41

d.      P. 42

e.      P. 42-43

f.        P. 46

g.      PP. 335-337

4.      Graduate Courses, Credits and Curriculum

5.     Graduate Bulletin

a.      P. 46

b.      PP. 47-48

6.     UNC Policy Manual (400.1.1)

7.     New Program Approval Process:  Regulations for Academic Program Planning and Evaluation (UNC Policy 400.1.1[R])

8.      Accelerated Bachelors in Nursing ĖExtensive Admission Prerequisites

9.     The Course Prerequisite Checklist for the Accelerated BS in Nursing Program

10.    Graduate Double Majors, Dual Degrees and Joint Degree Programs policy