3.6.4 Post-baccalaureate Program Requirements

Comprehensive Standard 3.6.4: Post-baccalaureate Program Requirements

The institution defines and publishes requirements for its graduate and post-baccalaureate professional programs. These requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs.

USF Sarasota-Manatee Focused Report Response

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s practice is to award master’s degrees only to students who have completed at least 30 graduate credit hours. As a result of the SACSCOC Off-site Report, USF Sarasota-Manatee clarified the graduate minimum hours requirement to explain that a minimum of 30 graduate hours is met with graduate (5000 level or above) courses. Master’s degree programs may use undergraduate courses for prerequisite purposes, but these undergraduate courses must be above and beyond the 30 minimum graduate hours. The updated requirement language, as approved by the Academic Programs Committee (APC) and the Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic & Student Affairs (APC Approval Form), is available in the 2015-2016 Catalog (Minimum Hours).

Below is an excerpt from the Catalog showing the revised wording of the requirements for master’s degrees.

A minimum of thirty (30) graduate hours (5000 level and up) is required for a master’s degree, at least sixteen (16) hours of which must be at the 6000 level.

At least twenty (20) hours must be in formal, regularly scheduled course work (i.e., not directed research, independent study, internships, etc.), at least ten (10) of which must be at the 6000 level.

Undergraduate courses may not be used to satisfy the minimum 30 hours in master’s course requirements but may be taken to meet specific prerequisites.  All graduate and undergraduate courses taken as a graduate student count in the overall GPA, whether or not they count toward the minimum hours for the degree.

Graduate students may not enroll for more than 18 hours in any semester without written permission from the College Dean.

The following transcripts show that students met the requirement of at least 30 graduate credit hours for the master’s degree: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration transcript (33 graduate hours), Master of Business Administration transcript (40 graduate hours), Master of Education in Educational Leadership transcript (36 graduate hours), and Master of Science in Hospitality Management transcript  (36 graduate hours). Only one master’s degree program at USF Sarasota-Manatee, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), requires three hours of undergraduate course work in science methods to complete the degree. However, the MAT requires 39 credit hours. Therefore, students must complete 36 hours in graduate-level courses in addition to the undergraduate course. An MAT graduate transcript shows the total number of credits earned at 39 with 36 at the graduate level and three at the undergraduate level.

Please note that the language in the original Reaffirmation document that stated, “the intent is that more than half of the course work for any USF Sarasota-Manatee master’s degree will be in courses clearly differentiated as graduate-level” is not accurate and should not have been included.

Off-Site Committee Report – Non-Compliance

USF S-M clearly defines and publishes requirements for its graduate programs in the Academic Catalog. The thorough internal university process for approval of degree programs and the fact that 5 of the 7 active graduate degree programs have earned discipline based accreditation indicate that degree requirements are appropriate for graduate education. Nevertheless, given the provision to award credit for 6 hours of undergraduate course work, it is not clear that the requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices.

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s original submission narrative is shown below.  

Compliance Partial Compliance Non-compliance


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) defines and publishes the requirements for its graduate programs. These requirements conform to the commonly accepted standards of accrediting agencies and the state of Florida. It does not offer any post-baccalaureate professional programs.

Publication of Requirements

Each college publishes the requirements for each graduate-level degree program in the Academic Catalog (Academic Catalog 2014-15; Academic Catalog 2015-16), which is also available on the Web. Degree requirements and sample Graduate Course Descriptions from the Academic Catalog are provided in the Table below.

Catalog References and Sample Course Descriptions for USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Graduate Programs
 Graduate Degree Program Catalog Reference Sample Course Description
College of Arts & Sciences
Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration MA CCJ Catalog CCJ 6406 Description
College of Business
Master of Business Administration MBA Catalog GEB 6895 Description
College of Education
Master of Arts in Teaching MAT Catalog EDF 6432 Description
Master of Educational Leadership MEd Catalog EDA 6061 Description
Master of Arts in English Education MA English Catalog LAE 6637 Description
Master of Arts in Education, General MA Education Catalog EDF 6165 Description
College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership
Master of Science in Hospitality Management MS Hospitality Catalog HMG 6257 Description

Commonly Accepted Standards & Practices

The faculty carries primary responsibility for the initiation, revision, and quality of the curriculum. The USF System New Academic Program Authorization Process ensures that 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 October 2013 Minutes).

USF Sarasota-Manatee currently holds program accreditation for graduate programs in the College of Business and the College of Education, indicating that they meet commonly accepted standards and practices in their fields. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program meets the Standards for Business Accreditation of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB Accreditation Letter). The College of Education’s graduate programs meet the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education NCATE Professional Standards (NCATE Accreditation Letter). The College of Education graduate programs meet the rigorous requirements of the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for teacher certification (Florida Educator Accomplished Practices) and principal licensure (Florida Principal Leadership Standards).

USF Sarasota-Manatee master’s degree programs that do not hold program accreditation must be reviewed at least once during a seven-year period in accordance with Florida Board of Governors BOG Regulation 8.015. USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Program Review Guidelines ensure that these programs conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for graduate education in the disciplines they cover.  This process requires a Program Review 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.

Please see Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1 (Academic Program Approval) for more details.


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