Comprehensive Standard 3.5.3: Undergraduate Program Requirements
The institution defines and publishes requirements for its undergraduate programs, including its general education components. These requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs. (See Commission policy “The Quality and Integrity of Undergraduate Degrees.”
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) defines and publishes its degree requirements, which conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs.
Defined and Published Requirements
Each college publishes the requirements for each baccalaureate degree program on its website and in the Academic Catalog, also available on the Web. The Core Curriculum requirements (General Education and Pillars of Intellectual Engagement) are also published in the on-line Academic Catalog as shown by degree program in the table below. USF Sarasota-Manatee provides Curriculum Progression Ladders online for each undergraduate degree program. The Academic Catalog has an Undergraduate Course Descriptions section. Course descriptions can also be found on the OASIS course scheduling website with examples listed in the table below.
* Program has four concentrations across three colleges.
Commonly Accepted Standards and Practices
USF Sarasota-Manatee defines and publishes requirements for its undergraduate programs, including the Core Curriculum, in the Academic Catalog, which is the official record and accessible to students via the USF Sarasota-Manatee website. These requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs as prescribed by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) under BOG Regulation 6.017. Under this Regulation, students must complete the following in baccalaureate programs prior to graduation:
- 36 semester hours of general education courses in the subject areas of communication, mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences; and
- 120 credit hours through university course work, acceleration mechanisms, and/or transfer credit.
Each of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s baccalaureate programs meets these minimum requirements. USF Sarasota-Manatee requires all undergraduate students to take 36 semester hours to satisfy the General Education Requirements. All of its bachelor’s degree programs require 120 credit hours.
Florida’s Statewide Articulation Manual outlining the transfer of students from state colleges to the public universities in Florida requires every public institution to adhere to a common set of academic policies and procedures. The agreement ensures uniformity in defining the level of courses, a common course numbering system, and the transferability of credits among Florida public institutions. It also ensures that students satisfying general education requirements at one institution will have satisfied those requirements at another institution.
The faculty carries primary responsibility for the initiation, revision, and quality of the curriculum. The USF System New Academic Program Authorization Process ensures that the general education and major requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs. Faculty within the academic unit initiating a new program are responsible for establishing that it is relevant in the field or discipline, has the appropriate level of rigor, and includes a coherent course of study. Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1 (Academic Program Approval) provides a complete description of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s academic program approval process. Faculty also initiate and review changes to the curriculum to assure that the changes do not negatively affect the quality of the course or program (e.g., APC February 2015 Minutes).
In accordance with Florida Statute 1007.25, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), in consultation with faculty in each discipline, establishes common program prerequisites for major degree programs, including general education, at every state institution of higher education where that degree program is offered, ensuring uniformity in lower-division requirements for the majors across the state. The Florida Common Prerequisites Manual contains a complete list of common prerequisites for all baccalaureate programs in the state. All undergraduate programs at USF Sarasota-Manatee have designated U.S. Department of Education Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes, as cataloged by the BOG in its Academic Program Inventory. CIP coding ensures that the University’s undergraduate programs are aligned with undergraduate programs throughout Florida and other parts of the United States, with a clear progression from introductory survey courses to capstone courses.
BOG Regulation 8.016 requires that every degree program identify learning outcomes in the areas of content and discipline knowledge and skills, communication, and critical thinking skills, which students in that program are expected to demonstrate prior to graduation (e.g., Biology Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plan). The regulation also requires that the program outline the methods by which students will be assessed on these skills. Comprehensive Standard 18.104.22.168 (Institutional Effectiveness: Educational Programs) provides additional information on student learning outcomes.
BOG Regulation 8.015(1b) requires all academic programs to undergo a program review following a seven-year cycle. This process requires a program self-study that includes an analysis of the current state of the program, including support for the continued need and demand for the program, program prerequisites, changes to the curriculum since the last review, the sequence of study, and a description of the required and elective courses. (Example: Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management Program Review).
Business and Education programs earned discipline-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) that monitor critical aspects of a program, including course requirements, program length, and curriculum structure. The Florida BOG annually monitors specialized accreditation through the Annual Specialized Accreditation Review submitted by Institutional Research & Effectiveness.
Core Requirement 2.7.1 (Program Length)and Federal Requirement 4.4 (Program Length) provide complete details on required hours for USF Sarasota-Manatee programs. Further, Core Requirement 2.7.3 (General Education) and Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 (General Education Competencies) provide additional information on USF Sarasota-Manatee’s general education program.
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