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2. Core requirements

Core Requirement:

2.7.1 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. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification for all degrees that include fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit. (Program Length)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.


The University of West Georgia offers multiple undergraduate and graduate degrees and operates on a semester system. The Institution bases program length requirements on Policy 2.3.5 of the University System of Georgia’s Academic and Student Affairs Handbook [1].  As per this policy and SACS policies on “Credit Hours” [2], the University of West Georgia requires that all baccalaureate programs include at least 120 semester credit hours and all post-baccalaureate and graduate programs to include at least 30 semester credit hours. The requirements for undergraduate degrees are posted in the Undergraduate Catalog [3]. The requirements for graduate and post-baccalaureate programs are listed under the links to different colleges [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10]. The report for Federal Requirement 4.4 provides additional discussion on program length at the University of West Georgia.

As noted above, program length at the University of West Georgia is based on semester credit hours.  The reports for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.6 and Federal Requirement 4.9 provide detailed discussion of policies and procedures used for determining the credit hours awarded for courses and programs. The University of West Georgia definition of a credit hour complies with the SACS “Credit Hours” policy statement [2].

The Institution, also, is in compliance with the SACS “Distance and Correspondence Education” policy [11]. In accordance with its mission, the University of West Georgia offers several programs wholly or partially online, and at off-site locations [12]. The Bachelor of Science in Criminology is an example of one of those programs offered wholly online. The length and content of this program are the same as of the one offered face-to face [13] .   

Compliance with Standard 2.7.1 is monitored during program approval and through regular review of each academic program.  All new programs are evaluated through an extensive approval process at the department, college, Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee or Graduate Programs Committee, Faculty Senate, Provost, and Board of Regents levels [14], [15], [16].  One criterion in this process is ensuring that program length meets established requirements (this process is detailed in Comprehensive Standard Narrative 3.4.1 and in Federal Requirement Narrative 4.4).

All ongoing programs offered by the University of West Georgia, whether on-site or off-site, and whether  the delivery method is face-to-face or online, are subject to Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) no less than once every seven years. Comprehensive Program Review is the key long term review of the quality, productivity, and viability of academic programs at both the baccalaureate and graduate levels. CPR serves as the catalyst for systematic and thoughtful evaluation of an academic program. CPR is distinctly different from annual assessments of student learning, although progress toward student learning objectives is an element of consideration in the process. It is intended to serve as a catalyst for systematic and thoughtful examination of the long-term history and development of long-term plans for each academic program.   The review focuses on three characteristics of an academic program: quality, viability, and productivity. Programs that are deemed not compare well against the review characteristics (as determined by the Program Faculty, Department Chair, Dean, Senate, Provost, or President) are subject to review at least every 3 years.  All credentialed programs are included in the review cycle including certificates, minors in areas where there is no major, and coherent, identifiable areas of focus such as the core curriculum [17].  More information about the application of Comprehensive Program Review is available in Comprehensive Standard Narrative 3.4.1.

Furthermore, University of West Georgia awards academic credit for course work taken on a noncredit basis. The report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.8 discusses noncredit options.  

Supporting Documentation: